Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And How Sustainable Packaging is Evolving our Ideals


“As a millennial, it’s no surprise, from a very early age I was taught about the ‘Three R’s’ of environmental responsibility and sustainability, ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’”, Madison Wilson, Marketing Coordinator for Village Farms Greenhouse Grown brand tells us.  She goes on to say, “For many of my peers, the 3 R’s are now engrained into our daily routines and life practices”.  Finding reusable options, using less, and recycling have simply become a way of life for this generation. Millennials, as well as Gen X and Z, prioritize products that align with their sustainability goals and healthy lifestyles. Health is valued by this demographic and has gained an increased interest in not only the quality of their food choices and but the origins of their food in how it is grown and produced.

The recent pandemic has left all of us, regardless of the generation, with time to evaluate the environmental impact of our daily lifestyle practices. Choosing greenhouse grown produce provides some assurance of environmental stewardship.  Yet, ditching plastic straws will not be enough to keep our planet safe from the harm that plastic and other harmful waste can inflict. And people are beginning to understand they have the power to do more by purchasing food products that are packaged sustainably. 

Compared to Boomers, Millennials followed by Gen X, and then Gen Z, are more cognizant of the impact that their purchasing decisions have on society according to a recent report by the Hartman Group.  And at the same time, the World Economic Forum reports every year more than 400 million tons of plastics are discarded worldwide and only 14-18% is recycled.  During the pandemic there was a heightened concern for food safety, especially regarding unpackaged foods. Packaging helps to keep produce items safe and aids in what retailers refer to as reducing ‘shrink’, that also comes at a huge cost of doing business. In turn, packaging can reduce food waste which also comes at a huge cost to the environment. So, the need to protect our food and increase its shelf life with packaging is still relevant and necessary today.

The challenge to find environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic has increased in urgency. Sustainable packaging solutions that ensure the safety and shelf life of a product are also key. Village Farms has been working for several years now to develop and test packaging that can remain out of landfills. The recently launched Sensational Sara tomato was the debut of one such solution for the company.

Sensational Sara tomatoes are packaged in an innovative 1lb environmentally friendly box that is biodegradable and recyclable. The clear window film is made from a natural cellulose material that is certified home compostable.  The film can be easily peeled away and tossed in your backyard compost pile or community compost bin. The remaining paper board box can be recycled in your regular cardboard/paper recycling stream. A QR code on pack guides consumers through this simple process of separating the film from the box.  Helen L. Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing & Communications for Village Farms tell us. “The Pandemic also brought about a resurgence in the use of QR codes for touchless restaurant menus, and Dr. office intake forms, etc.  At the same time the technology caught up to functionality by simple act of opening your camera and pointing it at the code to scan, vs. using a dedicated app.  Both circumstances drove an increased use in QR codes.  This makes QR code the perfect vehicle for providing recycling information without taking up added packaging real estate for this important information”.

Village Farms is thrilled to offer this environmentally responsible packaging option for the debut of its unique newest tomato variety Sensational Sara in a 1lb box.  Village Farms is also offering this box for their 1lb Maverick Mix tomatoes, a lovely mix of specialty tomatoes in assorted shapes and sizes. They are hoping this type of packaging will gain further momentum with their retail partners. Aquino also mentioned, “We have a number of retailers showing interest and some with sustainability initiatives already in place giving preference to suppliers that can deliver on protecting the environment and sustainable packaging is one way such way.” 

To grow healthy and delicious food for human consumption is a huge responsibility. Village Farms is continuing this trend with packaging that is healthy for the planet as well.  The company’s innovative packaging solutions are keeping waste out of landfills, harmful gas out of the atmosphere, and keeping minds at ease knowing they are making a difference for the Earth.  Village Farms is committed to feeding an evolving and growing world population while preserving the planet.  The company’s cutting-edge greenhouses use less water, land, and chemicals to grow more food.   Village Farms’ innovative Controlled Environment Agriculture growing methods pave the way to curtail climate change. To find out more about Village Farms and their sustainability efforts read about their Good for the Earth platform.


Social Responsibility

Village Farms helps Publix Provide 700,000 Meals to Feeding America

As Seen on AndNowYouKnow

As it’s been said time and time again, children are the future, and to provide them with nutritious, healthy foods as they grow up, Publix and Healthy Family Project’s Produce for Kids once again teamed up for the retailer’s bi-annual Publix Produce for Kids cause-marketing campaign. The campaign ended June 16 with 12 produce partners coming together to provide 700,000 meals to 32 Feeding America® member food banks in the Publix market area.

Dwaine Stevens, Director of Community Relations, PublixDwaine Stevens, Director of Community Relations, Publix“At Publix, we recognize the importance of helping families achieve their wellness goals through innovative campaigns and programs,” said Dwaine Stevens, Publix Director of Community Relations. “Giving back to our local communities is at the core of our company culture, and we are proud to collaborate with Healthy Family Project for the Produce for Kids campaign.”

To help inspire shoppers to enjoy fresh produce from the dozen produce partners that took part in the campaign, newly designed signage was positioned near their products in more than 1,200 Publix locations. According to a press release, the displays featured QR codes leading consumers to a downloadable eCookbook featuring recipes, details on each partner, and a new section that showcases the sustainable practices of each supplier.

Produce for Kids has been working with Publix and its produce suppliers for 19 years, and through its cause-marketing campaign has raised more than $3.4 million for local families in need. With more than 42 million people across the U.S. facing food insecurity, according to Feeding America, the campaign plays a vital role in overcoming the issue.

John Shuman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Shuman FarmsJohn Shuman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Shuman Farms“We are proud of the impact the Produce for Kids campaign has been able to make in Publix communities over the years,” said John Shuman, Founder of Healthy Family Project and President of Shuman Farms. “This collaboration has not only helped families facing hunger, but also those tasked with planning meals for their families each week. It is our mission to help them find new and innovative ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal.”

In addition to signage, this year, Healthy Family Project’s Amanda Keefer and two junior chefs hosted a Facebook Live cooking class, with viewership of more than 12,000. A targeted social media strategy was also put in play, with photographs and videos highlighting participating produce suppliers throughout May and June.

Joining Produce for Kids and 12 produce partners, Publix provided 700,000 meals to 32 Feeding America® member food banks in its seven-state footprintJoining Produce for Kids and 12 produce partners, Publix provided 700,000 meals to 32 Feeding America® member food banks in its seven-state footprint

Publix produce suppliers for 2021 included Acosta Sales & Marketing, Ayco Farms, Coast Tropical, Driscoll’s®, Fresh Express®, Litehouse®, Marie’s®, Mission Produce, RealSweet Onions®, SUNSET®, Village Farms, and Wonderful® Pistachios.

Since the partnership’s inception, the campaign has raised over $3.4 million to benefit local charities and has donated more than 5.7 million meals to Feeding America food banks within the seven-state Publix footprint since 2002.

Cheers to Produce for Kids and Publix for continuing to care for communities and in need through the power of fresh produce.



Village Farms Bee-lieves in Doing Good with IPM


Creepy crawly bugs come in all shapes and sizes in this great wide world of ours, and we know that every insect plays a part in keeping our environment in balance.  In agriculture when insects are a nuisance, we call them ‘pests’, but when they are helpful, we call them ‘beneficials’.  Pesticides are used in agriculture to keep plants healthy from the pesky pests.  But, did you know that beneficial insects are used in farming to reduce the need for chemical pesticides and help facilitate the healthy growth of fruits and vegetables?  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a method that has been used with great success in reducing the need for chemicals in agriculture while working to optimize plant health.  Among Indoor farmers, especially hydroponic greenhouse growers, and more specifically high-tech Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), such as the type of farming Village Farms growers engage, an IPM program was developed and implemented with great success in the greenhouse industry thanks in large part to the contribution of Village Farms.  Here is a bit of a story about how the good bugs fight the bad bugs, and how Village Farms was on the front lines of this from the start, fighting the good fight, and because of this, today we continue to grow healthy plants that blossom into tasty, flavorful fruits and vegetables.

Village Farms’ farmers, (we call them growers) monitor every aspect of the plants growth to make certain crops are healthy and that their fruit is safe to eat. One such person on the helm of this noble endeavor is Mike Bledsoe, Ph.D., who is the Vice President of Food Safety & Regulatory Affairs at Village Farms.  Mike was instrumental in the design and development of Village Farm’s Food Safety Program that he helped establish from the very beginning and now oversees. With a Ph.D. in Entomology along with an extensive experience within the pest management sector he helped develop a pesticide registration solution for the greenhouse industry at large.   Dr. Bledsoe, in conjunction with the IR-4 Project, who supports registrations for specialty crops like tomatoes, have worked to register biologicals for the edible plant industry.  Today, the Food Safety team headed up by Dr. Bledsoe, work with our growers on our IPM program, implemented in all our greenhouses in North America.  The program focuses on stringent protocols to determine the best plan of action for the plants well-being. All this effort ensures that the food we grow, market, and distribute is 100% healthy for you and your family.

Yamilee Galindo Colomo, Village Farms Food Safety team member in Texas.

Among the many insects that are known to be a farmer’s friend, Bees are the most popular helper bugs on Earth. These prolific pollinators are responsible for pollinating about 75 percent of the world’s crops that in-turn help feed millions of people. Village Farms employs about two Bumble beehives per acre in our greenhouses to pollinate our plants and keep them thriving. But bees are not the only insects that are working to keep our crops healthy. Tons of tiny, microscopic helper bugs, like wasps, play in a huge role in keeping bad hungry bugs off our crops. These are examples of the beneficial bugs that are part of Village Farms’ IPM program.

Village Farms IPM program uses the gentlest approach possible to deter bad bugs from our crops. The goal of IPM is to respond to harmful pests with effective, safe, low risk options. When appropriate, Village Farms administers Organic pesticides on all our crops, so that they can grow healthily and free of harmful chemicals. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) approved pesticides, we use, have a very short half-life; meaning no residual chemicals are left by the time Village Farms produce hits the grocery store shelves. These IPM solutions allow for healthy, bountiful harvests. This makes Village Farms a safe choice.

The wide variety of IPM methods make it possible for Village Farms to ensure that food quality and safety always come first. When you think about it, IPM can be utilized to the fullest in Village Farms greenhouses. The glass enclosure around the plants allows for our growers to account for many variables. The temperature, amount of water to the plant and sunlight exposure, and more can be modified in our greenhouses to allow for optimal growth. This allows for more efficient use of resources. For example, the beneficial bugs that Village Farms use are contained within the glass greenhouse. The enclosed greenhouse environment makes certain that all the beneficial insects continue working to protect the crops.

Dr. Mike Bledsoe, Vice President of Food Safety & Regulatory Affairs.

Protecting Pollinators is an important goal for Village Farms, and the company cares about the quality of the food you and your family consume. Dr. Bledsoe reflects, “Village Farms’ IPM program has made an enormous impact on the industry. The work we have done over the past several decades has made greenhouse growing throughout North America, an even more sustainable growing practice. We have been able to stay ahead of the growing safety expectations that our customers now require. There will always be ongoing research to strategize which solutions will be most effective in minimizing exposure to crop disease to keep our crops healthy and safe for the global community.”

Food safety is something Village Farms cares about deeply.  Growing food for human consumption carries a huge responsibility that Village Farms has taken seriously during its 30-plus years in the business of growing fresh fruits and vegetables. The company’s food safety program and environmentally friendly growing methods are best summarized as innovative in doing good for people and the planet as well as all of its creatures big and small.  To find out more about Village Farms’ growing methods, and sustainability growing practices, check out our Good for the Earth program!


Village Farms Greenhouse Grown Welcomes Eric Janke to Senior Management Team


Village Farms Greenhouse Grown is pleased to announce Eric Janke has joined the company as Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, effective June 1, 2021.  Mr. Janke will be responsible for the overall productivity and effectiveness of the company’s produce business’ Sales, Marketing, and Fulfillment teams, working in the company’s Lake Mary, Florida corporate offices.  Eric will be concentrating on both short- and longer-term initiatives including the strategy for the company’s future opportunities within the evolving Controlled Environment Agriculture sphere.

Michael DeGiglio, President & CEO of Village Farms International Inc. said, “Village Farms welcomes Eric’s vast experience as a senior leader among the many facets of the produce industry.  Eric has a proven track record of success with some of the largest and most respected organizations in the industry, including Albertson’s, Sysco Food Service, Kraft Food Service, and Fresh America. The expertise he has gained across these core components of the produce and grocery supply chain will provide Village Farms with a solid knowledge base to benefit the company in navigating the future demand of a changing business model.”

Mr. Janke brings to Village Farms a tremendous breadth and depth of knowledge gained over more than four decades of experience in the fresh produce and grocery industries, including over 20 years of which he has held in executive level positions.  Most recently, Mr. Janke had served for 15 years as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for DiMare Fresh, Inc., a vertically integrated grower and shipper of citrus and tomatoes, and distributor of fruit and vegetables.

About Village Farms

Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers, and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits, and vegetables in North America. The food our farmers grow are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses. The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada. Since its inception, Village Farms has been guided by sustainability principles that enable us to grow food 365 days a year that not only feeds the growing population but is healthier for people and the planet. Village Farms is Good for the Earth® and good for you.

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Village Farms International, Inc. Leads the Flower Segment in Canada


Village Farms (NASDAQ: VFF) (TSX: VFF) has more than 30 years of greenhouse growing experience, ranging from cut flowers to produce. When cannabis became legal in Canada, the U.S.-based company saw an opportunity to leverage its greenhouse experience and provide more shareholder value by entering this new market. Now, the company offers a premium brand at an everyday price in the Canadian market, and it is contemplating how it will expand its cannabis business into the U.S. President and CEO Michael DeGiglio spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about the Village Farm’s Canadian market position, U.S. strategy and growth trajectory. The audio of the entire conversation is available at the end of this written summary.

Decades of Experience

Ramping up a greenhouse is an enormous task. Village Farms has built multiple megaprojects across North America over the years it has been in operation, experience that has helped it to thrive in the cannabis space. While other Canadian operators have had to shutter assets, Village Farms is doubling its capacity, according to DeGiglio.

Village Farms is now well-established as a greenhouse grower, but DeGiglio was not always in the farming business. His background is in aeronautical science; he spent years as a tactical jet aviator for the Navy. Following his retirement as a Navy Captain, he decided to go into business and landed on farming. He first focused on greenhouse technology in Europe, eventually going on to create Village Farms.

The stock was publicly traded on the NASDAQ years ago. The company was taken private in 2000 and then taken public again in 2006 when it purchased a large greenhouse company in Canada.

Moving into Cannabis

Over the course of its history, the company has learned to adapt to changing market dynamics. Years ago, the company focused on cut flowers, but that industry was largely shifted to other countries, like Colombia. So, Village Farms migrated to produce. Now, it has to compete with the lower labor costs of countries like Mexico. Today, cannabis offers the company an opportunity to create shareholder value. For now, Canada does not allow the importation of cannabis. Village Farms can to use its decades of experience to compete only with other Canadian producers, according to DeGiglio.

Village Farms analyzed the Canadian cannabis market for a year and a half before making its entrance. The team wanted to ensure it had a sustainable business model. Now, Pure Sunfarms, its subsidiary focused on cannabis, is focused on becoming one of the largest growers in North America.

Pure Sunfarms Team Members

Canadian Market Position

The company’s cannabis cultivation operation is located in British Columbia. Over the past five to six quarters, its flower has been a top-seller in the Ontario market. Village Farms plans to continue dominating flower, aiming to capture 20 percent market share in Canada, according to DeGiglio.

Flower remains a priority for the company; the Pure Sunfarms team is exploring new varieties and higher potency to continue meeting consumer demand. Additionally, the company has entered other product categories, like vape pens, prerolls, gummies and oils. DeGiglio believes that it will take time to grow in these categories, but the company is committed.

The Company Is Offering Products Like Flower, Prerolls and Oils.

The company is not in the confectionary or beverage categories. DeGiglio does not necessarily want to explore the confectionary category, and in terms of beverages, Village Farms is opting to wait for that category to gain more traction.

U.S. Strategy

Village Farms is carefully considering its U.S. market strategy. As a TSX and NASDAQ-listed company, it will not be participating in the U.S. cannabis industry until some form of federal legalization moves forward. The company has a significant institutional shareholder base, and it does not want to risk being delisted, according to DeGiglio.

While the company will have to wait, it is keeping a careful eye on the legislative landscape and preparing for market entry in a number of different ways. First, the company has six million square feet of high-tech greenhouse space in southwest Texas. With very limited medical licenses in this state, no major MSO is currently competing in Texas, according to DeGiglio. When the time comes, the company is ready to convert that asset and become a competitive, low-cost producer in that market.

When full legalization passes, the Village Farms team expects that interstate commerce will eventually become a part of the industry. This change could provide the company the opportunity to reach more states.

Finally, Village Farms has been growing hemp in the United States since it became legal in 2018. While it is waiting for further clarification from the FDA, the health and wellness market represents a third potential point of entry into the U.S. market.

International Strategy

Outside of North America, Village Farms has its eye set on the European market. The company is actively trying to move forward in the Netherlands on the recreational side. But, DeGiglio acknowledges that the European market is still nascent and ramping up slowly. Village Farms will take a careful approach to how it enters this market.

Industry Consolidation

In Canada, Village Farms is a low-cost producer with consistent positive cash flow and positive EBITDA. It also has the ability to scale its current footprint to double or even triple its capacity. With that in mind, M&A in the Canadian market is not a priority. DeGiglio remains the largest shareholder in the company, aligning him with other shareholders. From his perspective, any dilution via M&A would need to be very accretive for the company.

Any M&A in terms of technology or IP would certainly be of interest. And, the company is open to deals in the U.S. or internationally. Already, the company has a stake in Altum International, a company in the Asia-Pacific market. Village Farms plans to begin exporting to Australia, and it may increase its position in Altum in the future.

Capital Position

Village Farms has $135 million in cash and a warrant coming in that will increase that cash position to $150 million, according to DeGiglio. Right now, he sees a share buy-back as a great use of proceeds and the best return to shareholders. The company recently announced a normal course issuer bid for up to 5% of its shares.

The company is in a position where it does not need additional capital at the moment. It has adequate cash to convert its Texas assets when that time comes and to look at potential M&A.

If Village Farms does need to raise more capital down the line, DeGiglio recommends looking at the company’s track record. It has done a number of small equity raises and put that equity to work.

Growth Trajectory

Village Farms is ramping up its capacity in Canada. The company expects to go from 90 million grams of production to 180 million grams of production by this time next year. It never grows what it cannot sell, according to DeGiglio. The company had $13 million in inventory for its fourth quarter and approximately the same amount in its first quarter.

Village Farms Is Planning to Double Its Capacity in Canada.

The company has 16 to 17 grow rooms per site. It always operates with the ability to cut back or ramp up production based on the market need. For example, the company cut back on production due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown orders. Now, it is back up to full production.

While the pandemic has been a challenge in the Canadian market, the company is steadily aiming for its goal of 20 percent market share. In the U.S., Village Farms is waiting on a regulatory shift. However the cannabis industry evolves, the company is looking for ways to take advantage of this enormous CPG opportunity in North America and international markets.




Social Responsibility

Village Farms Supports Feeding America


Village Farms is pleased to take part once again in the annual effort with Produce for Kids, and its valued retail partner Publix, in support of Feeding America.  Feeding America is the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, that helps 1 in 7 Americans and provides 4.3 billion meals annually to those facing hunger or are food insecure.  The Healthy Family Project’s, Produce for Kids campaign will be providing 700,000 meals through 31 Feeding America Foodbanks within the Publix communities.  The campaign launched May 19, 2021 in Publix stores and online and will run over the next several weeks ending June 16.   Village Farms has been a proud sponsor of the Produce for Kids campaign for over a decade.

Village Farms signature tomato, Heavenly Villagio Marzano, a mini-San Marzano snacking tomato will be featured on Produce for Kids point of sale signage displayed in Publix stores as well as banners online announcing Village Farms as a sponsor.  Product signage will feature a recipe and QR code that shoppers can scan to download free E-Cookbook featuring Village Farms’ recipes for a Burrata & Tomato Hand Pies and a Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Green beans that both use the Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato. The recipes will also be highlighted in social media posts to more than 300,000 followers.

New to the campaign this year on The Produce for Kids website is a showcase of the sustainability practices of each campaign sponsor. Village Farms is highlighting its Clean Energy initiative where landfill gas is used as energy for its greenhouses and creates clean air the citizens in the greater Vancouver, CA area. This powerful messaging creates a link for consumers to help them better understand how their personal food choices can impact not only giving back to the community but by supporting brands that protect or improve the overall environment and by doing so that they are doing good for our planet. 

Helen L. Aquino, Director Brand Marketing & Communication said, “We are happy to be able to support this great endeavor again this year with the Healthy Family Project during a real time of need in our country. Feeding America serves every community in the US, so their impact is tremendous. And Our Good for the Earth sustainability story is a wonderful platform for this message now, especially as more and more people are focused on plant-based diets and are looking to increase their intake of healthy fruits and vegetables”.

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Masters of Merchandising with Village Farms® Greenhouse Grown


As Seen on The Produce Business

Power the Spontaneous

Compared to one year ago, we are more polished shoppers, making less trips to the grocery store, and spending more per trip. One thing is certain, we are shopping from a list while trying to get in and out of the store as fast as we can! This leaves little room for impulse buys or discovering new products. Activate the power of the spontaneous purchase with strong emotive imagery using POS signage.

Healthy snacking, immune boosting, mood lifting, all are themes for strong Point of Sale messaging that will motivate shoppers. Innovative and intriguing imagery will get the eating occasion ideas owing. Village Farms is here to help with this endeavor, with our full library of content for POS, as well as all your digital promotional needs.

Keep an Eye on the Trends

2021 is the year for fresh as consumers continue to set their sights on healthy and easy to prepare food choices. Trending is ‘celebrating food as an occasion’, especially with fresh produce.

And though consumers are moving more quickly through the store, they continue to crave inspiration as they shop.

Plant Based for the Win!

Fruits and vegetables are trending in 2021 as the focus on a ‘Plant Based Diet’ continues to evolve. Consumers are determined to purchase flavorful immune boosting tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that are the primary staples for their plant-based food choices and the foundations of their meal planning. Focus Point of Sale on inclusivity of more plant-based content that will connect a more diverse community of consumers, while celebrating food heritage through nostalgic recipes and real-life stories.

Sensational Sara

The recently launched and new to the category lovely Sensational Sara® tomato is an exciting new addition to the tomato-on-the-vine varietal segment. Her deep red inside and study green vine make her really stand out. She is simply amazing, great as a slicer, handy for sandwiches or salads, and the best part is that she is a phenomenal cooking tomato.

Sensation Sara®is packaged in an innovative 1lb environmentally friendly box that is biodegradable and 100% recyclable. Ask us more about her availability!



Village Farms’ Clean Energy Subsidiary Renews and Extends Vancouver Landfill Gas Contract to Transition to Renewable Natural Gas Model


VANCOUVER, BC, Nov. 10, 2020 /CNW/ – Village Farms International, Inc. (“Village Farms” or the “Company”) (TSX: VFF) (NASDAQ: VFF) today announced Village Farms’ wholly owned subsidiary, Village Farms Clean Energy, Inc. (“VFCE”), has renewed and extended its existing contract with the City of Vancouver under which VFCE receives landfill gas captured by the City of Vancouver at the City’s landfill site in Delta, BC (the “COV LFG Contract”). The 20-year extension period, with an option for an additional five-year extension period, commences upon start-up of the Delta RNG Project commercial operations.

The renewed and extended COV LFG Contract enables Village Farms to transition VFCE to a more attractive long-term business model based on the conversion of landfill gas to high-demand Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) (the “Delta RNG Project”), which will also generate food-grade liquid CO2, significantly reducing Village Farms’ and Pure Sunfarms’ reliance on natural gas to produce CO2 in their operations. The reduction in natural gas requirements is expected to eliminate 28,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted through natural gas production, or the equivalent of taking more than 6,000 automobiles off the road, annually.

VFCE has entered into a partnership with Mas Energy, LLC (“Mas Energy”) for the Delta RNG Project, under which Mas Energy will design, build, finance (including all capital expenditure for construction), own and operate the Delta RNG facility.

“Throughout our history, Village Farms has been committed to environmental sustainability and clean agricultural technologies,” said Michael DeGiglio, CEO, Village Farms. “The Delta RNG Project will allow Village Farms to take this commitment to the next level to meet the evolving energy needs of the region and further contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the Fraser Valley, while the City of Vancouver will  benefit from higher beneficial landfill gas utilization. Village Farms’ and especially Pure Sunfarms’ Delta greenhouses, will benefit from a reduced reliance on fossil fuel-sourced natural gas, as well as an improved earnings profile, with lower ongoing capital expenditure requirements. It’s a win-win-win for the region, our Company and our shareholders.”

“The City of Vancouver is pleased to continue our longstanding partnership with Village Farms for beneficial use of landfill gas from the Vancouver Landfill. Their new venture to convert the landfill gas into Renewable Natural Gas supports our on-going efforts to address the climate emergency and cut carbon pollution in Vancouver by 50% by 2030,” said Albert Shamess, Director of Zero Waste and Resource Recovery, City of Vancouver.

“Mas Energy is proud to partner with Village Farms and the City of Vancouver on this exciting project,” said Michael Hall, Principal at Mas Energy. “We look forward to starting site activities very soon and delivering the benefits of cleaner energy and air to the citizens of the Vancouver region for a long time to come.”

The Delta RNG Project is subject to additional regulatory approvals, which the Company expects to be received in the first half of 2021, potentially leading to operational start up as early as the first half of 2022.

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Women in Produce Spotlight Lyra Vance



The Southern Roots Committee is honored to announce Village Farms very own Lyra Vance as the Southern Roots Member Spotlight for August 2020. Let’s take a moment and get to know Lyra!

1. Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My mother – she’s shown me how to love, how to be generous, how to be grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way in life and to truly cherish the journey not just the outcome.

2. Favorite Quote and Why?

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.  ​- ​​​Maya Angelou

​Over my 30 year career I’ve had many great mentors who encouraged and made me feel valuable. I’m working with several right now at Village Farms. Positive people have tremendous power to affect, inspire and motivate others.

3. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career?

Relationships matter and I’ve had the good fortune to make a lot of friends in this industry. Take time to nurture your friendships.

4. What is on your Bucket List you would most like to do?

Visit Madagascar to see rare animals and the humpback whale migration. Would also like to return to Botswana for a night safari. Being 12 feet away from a pride of lions in the moonlight is one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

5. Favorite Thing to Eat/Drink

IPA style beer, Jai Alai from Cigar City Brewing in Tampa.

6. What Advice would you give someone going into Leadership role for the first time?

Chances are you’ll be working more hours so make time for yourself to recharge each week.

7. If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

Hang gliding – once the initial fear of crashing subsides, I imagine hours of peaceful bliss. Closest I’ve come to this thrill is bungee jumping in New Zealand and Zambia.

8. When you have 30 min of free time what do you do?

Enjoy a bike ride outside in the fresh air or do some yard work

9. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Pizza with red sauce, extra cheese and veggies.

10. What are you passionate about?

Poker. I was a competitive athlete and poker provides an outlet for this energy. To be profitable one must be patient, disciplined and not allow emotions to guide your decisions. Poker is all about comfort with uncertainty…kind of like the produce business. 


Village Farms Helping Families In Need During Covid-19 Crisis


Village Farms International Inc. is helping to feed over 10,000 families in Texas with donations throughout the state to local food banks and food pantries.  Demand for donations has been higher than usual due to the COVID-19 crisis and Village Farms has been stepping up their donations of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to meet this need.  Village Farms operates three growing operations in the towns of Marfa, and Fort Davis, where they are the largest employer in both Davis and Presidio counties.  Village Farms also operates a state-of-the-art high-tech greenhouse in the Permian Basin region.  And, Village Farms operates one distribution center within the city of Fort Worth, all facilities are within the great state of Texas.


Over the last 2 weeks Village Farms has donated over 10 truckloads, equivalent to approximately 400,000 pound or 200 tons of fresh produce to numerous organizations who distribute food to help feed those in need.  Some of the food distribution organizations Village Farms has been able to help thus far are listed below.

Tarrant Area Food Bank, Fort Worth & Dallas
South Cliff Baptist Church, Fort Worth
West Texas Food Bank, Odessa
El Paso Food Bank, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger, El Paso
Marfa Food Pantry Saluvida Inc., Marfa
Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County, Fort Davis
First Baptist Church, Alpine
Grace Christian Fellowship, Alpine
Sunshine House, Alpine
Big Bend Family Crisis Center, Terlingua

Dr. Caroll Marr, Senior Pastor at South Cliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas told us “I want to express a great appreciation for Village Farms and the massive impact they have had on the lives of thousands of people weekly here in North Texas”.  Pastor Marr recounted how every day by 4:00 pm there are hundreds of cars lined up across four lanes in the church parking lot.  Pastor Marr went on to say that it has been a learning curve in trying to gear up for the sheer amount of people in need of food but he felt that they had it down to a science now.  Pastor Marr went on to say, “It also gives the young adults who have been volunteering an opportunity to help in a meaningful way and allows the older adults to stay safely at home”.

Nina Dietzel who represents Marfa Food Pantry in an email to the company said that she felt, “Times are about to become much harder for many so this (donation) was truly a much needed ray of sunshine”.

And Kym Flippo who represents the Big Bend Crisis Center in Terlingua also sent an email to Village Farms thanking the company and stated that, “Food is love and I thank you for both”.

According to Village Farms’ President & CEO, Michael A. DeGiglio, “Farming and food distribution has been deemed an essential business by our government during this crisis.  I am proud of all of the Village Farms employees company-wide who are working tirelessly to ensure healthy and safe produce is getting to our retail partners as well as those in need.  And, we are thankful to be able to do a small part during this national crisis”.

Click Here for Press Release


Spring Peppers on the Verge of Ripe & Ready


As seen on The Produce News

Village Farms International Inc., headquartered in Vancouver Canada announced today their Village Farms Greenhouse Grown brand of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are all ramping up for a strong season.  In particular, the company’s Canadian grown national pepper program will commence shipping at the beginning of April to all retail partners across the United States and Canada.

Village Farms is one of the largest and longest-operating vertically integrated greenhouse growers in North America and the only publicly traded greenhouse produce company in Canada. Village Farms produces and distributes fresh, premium-quality produce with consistency 365 days a year to national grocers in the U.S. and Canada from more than nine million square feet of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) greenhouses in British Columbia and Texas, as well as from its partner greenhouses in British Columbia, Ontario and Mexico.


Lyra Vance, Director of Strategic Business & Sales Development for Village Farms is feeling extremely optimistic about the quality and volume of this year’s pepper crop, “We have a wide range of pack styles to suit our retail partner pepper category demographic.  Not to mention our growers are phenomenal seasoned pepper farmers with a solid track record of growing premium quality peppers. ”

Village Farms’ brand of sweet bell peppers, ‘Sweet Bells®’ are available in a full offering of Red, Yellow, and Orange packaged sizes including  3 count,  4 count, and 6 count bags.

According to Nielsen data provided by United Fresh produce association Bell Peppers were the 6th most popular purchased vegetable item in US produce departments in 2019 with $391 million dollars in sales and were up over 7% from the previous year in total volume.  Village Farms offers their Sweet Bells in addition to the wide range of packaged size options also as PLU bulk 11lb boxes.

Bret Wiley, Senior Vice President & Sales Operations with Village Farms tells us the crop is looking really great and that the company expects to exceed expectations this year given this, “Our Canadian grower partner has been farming peppers for years and also does a great job with Beefsteak tomatoes”.

Village Farms offers their ‘Juicy Beefsteak®’ tomatoes in all standard bulk PLU sizes as well as packaged, 2 count, 4 count, 6 count clamshells, and 5lb box.

If you are interested in growing your sweet bell pepper or beefsteak tomato programs with Village Farms please reach out to Lyra or Bret who would be happy to help you find the right solution to meet your store’s needs.


Looking back on 30 years at Village Farms

As Seen on The Produce News

If the produce industry was female the Fine Young Cannibals may have sung it best, She Drives Me Crazy, but those who have been around long enough to know when this song peaked 30 years ago have without a doubt been faced with serious challenges at some point or another in their businesses.

For Village Farms International it has been no different over its 30-year history, including a baseball sized hailstorm that took down 80 acres of glass and steel greenhouse, to near catastrophe caused by a fast-moving prairie fire, avoided, thanks to the quick wits of a handful of superhero employees.


But by far its greatest challenge according to the company’s president and chief executive officer, Michael A. DeGiglio, is something faced industry-wide on a day after day basis. “To this day I can tell you whole-heartedly there’s nothing more difficult and nerve-wracking to deal with than perishability,” said DeGiglio.

As 2019 comes to a close, Village Farms finds itself rounding out its “30 years of growing strong” as the oldest operating greenhouse grower in the U.S., and the only publicly traded greenhouse produce company in Canada. Today Village Farms has approximately 420 acres in Canada, U.S., and Mexico growing tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers under the Village Farms Greenhouse Grown brands, majority ownership investment in Pure Sunfarms growing cannabis in Canada and ownership of majority investment Village Fields Hemp in the United States. So, as the company turns it sights to 2020 and what the future will bring, its CEO is feeling very optimistic that weathering the storms of this crazy business has been a worthwhile endeavor for more reasons than one.

It is fairly well known within the industry that greenhouse grown and specifically, Controlled Environment Agriculture, exudes a certain sense of control over the effects of Mother Nature in comparison to the challenges faced by outdoor farming. That’s a huge advantage that has helped Village Farms maintain the quality and consistency of the products they grow.

This CEA technology along with its master growers has created an assurance for Village Farms’ customers that the company is able to deliver a “four-legged stool” of a value proposition of fresh tomatoes 365 days a year to its customers. This was not always the case.

“The story I always tell is how in the early years when we were just one greenhouse in Pennsylvania and we had finished with our season, I said to my retail partner (because I only had one), ‘Ok see you next year enjoy your holidays and he said ‘Hey wait, we need more right away and we need it every day.’ From that day on this is what drove our growth strategy,” said DeGiglio.

He reminisced on the past remembering the early days. “We were on the forefront of greenhouse growing, going against the grain of the established retail supply chain field grown tomato mentality. With the ability to introduce a superior product that was available year-round we had everything to gain and nothing to lose.”


Year-round availability and the demand for products propelled greenhouse-grown from a niche market to fostering the development of large-scale greenhouse building projects for Village Farms. The company was focused on efficiency in all aspects of growing because this was the only way to compete with the lower cost of field grown produce. It developed proprietary technology and built an entirely enclosed greenhouse that was an innovative project for its time.

DeGiglio recounted the excitement of those early years and what seemed to be the birth of a whole new industry. “We were pioneers in the sustainability business,” he said. “When I began in this business my passion was growing produce in a way that was healthy, sustainable and better for the earth.”

DeGiglio remembered helping to introduce the state-of-the-art greenhouse growing medium rockwool and the company Grodan to North America back in 1985. He also recalled acutely how the challenges of raising capital and achieving profitability have never gotten any easier through all these years.

Fast forward to 2012 and the company’s most recent home run has been the Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato. The first business to introduce a mini San Marzano to North America, it is still the exclusive grower for this authentic variety. As the perfect tomato for snacking or cooking it’s no surprise it is the category driver for specialty tomatoes.


These are just a few examples of the major progress the company has made within just one generation. “I think it’s fair to say that we helped put the greenhouse industry on the map within the U.S., not only for tomatoes, but for all produce,” DeGiglio said. “For greenhouses to take control of 85 percent of the market within the timeframe of one generation speaks volumes.”

As Village Farms moves forward it continues to have a strong foothold within the produce industry but are exploring new avenues as evidenced by their partnerships, mainly with Pure Sunfarms and Village Fields Hemp.

“We’re doing what we’ve always done just with a different crop,” DeGiglio said. “Every once in a while, maybe once in your lifetime if you’re lucky, a new industry is born. We moved very quickly on this opportunity and we’re now able to leverage our 30 years of experience and within two years have become the No. 1 brand and most profitable cannabis company in Canada.”

As the end of 2019 approaches, Village Farms International Inc. is listed on both the Nasdaq and TSX, stock symbol VFF. This year it was recognized as one of the Top 30 on TSX where the company ranked third among the top performing stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s inaugural TSXD30 program.

Reflecting on being in business for 30 years, DeGiglio said there is a lot to be thankful for. “The greatest thanks I have is when I hear people’s stories from within the company. Knowing that Village Farms in some way impacted somebody’s life for the better to me far outweighs any of our other accomplishments,” he said. “Also, I’m grateful for the perseverance of the people in this company who have helped us make it through the disasters — both natural and manmade.”


CEO reveals why Village Farms has an investor edge


As seen on CNBC

WATCH: Cramer chats with Village Farms CEO Michael DeGiglio

What started as a large vegetable greenhouse developed into a pot stock.

Village Farms has been growing crops like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers under the tutelage of founder Michael DeGiglio for three decades. The company shifted into the marijuana business a year prior to Canada’s legalization in 2018.

“For us the switch to cannabis was just, really, another agricultural crop and in that regard we saw the transformation of our assets to a much more valuable crop from produce,” the CEO said in an interview with “Mad Money’s” Jim Cramer.

Through a couple of recent joint ventures, Village Farms made its foray into Canada’s legal cannabis market and the United State’s cannabidiol, known as CBD, market. The company formed a joint venture with Canadian marijuana grower Pure Sunfarms in 2017 and Nature Crisp to cultivate CBD products in Colorado.

Village Farms operates 200 acres of grow operations in the United States and Canada. DeGiglio told Cramer he owns a 20% stake in the company. The U.S. market “gives us great opportunity to deliver unmatched results,” he said.

“I really believe in the future, so I’m aligned with our shareholders and I think it brings a different element because I’m at risk,” he said. “We want to be 80% correct that decisions we make will pay out and, in that regard, I think I am different, but it’s really about our team. We’re team-oriented.”

In its second quarter report earlier this week, Village Farms delivered earnings of 20 cents per share to top Wall Street consensus of 4 cents. The results came on $53.5 million revenue, which beat a $41.8 million estimate from analysts.

While Village Farms’ produce sales came in short, sales from the cannabis joint venture with Pure Sunfarms grew by 125% to $24.2 million in U.S. dollars.

“The cannabis in Canada as well as CBD in the US just gives us a great opportunity to deliver unmatched results, and that’s where we’re headed,” DeGiglio said.

Shares of Village Farms are up more than 300% this year and has $662 million in market cap. The stock slipped 4 cents in Wednesday’s session to close at $17.90.


Village Farms’ Krysten DeGiglio Named Produce Business 40 Under Forty


Village Farms is proud to announce that Krysten DeGiglio, Regional Sales Manager, has been selected as a winner of the 14th annual Produce Business 40 under Forty award for 2019. 

Each year Produce Business conducts an extensive, widespread search to elicit nominations for top young leaders in the industry. Winners are selected by a group of industry mentors based on their professional accomplishments, demonstrated leadership and industry and community contributions. The publication recognized its first honorees in 2005 as a way to identify and support future produce industry movers and shakers. Way to go Krysten!

“I feel truly honored to be chosen as one of the award recipients for this year’s Produce Business 40 Under Forty,” said Krysten DeGiglio. Produce Business has a long history of selecting the best and brightest in their field and I’m humbled to be included in this outstanding group.”

DeGiglio came to Village Farms in 2015 with a MBA in Finance and embarked on her career with the company as a regional sales manager responsible for the Northeastern United States. Her day to day activities keeps her on her toes managing several top retail accounts.  She is also responsible for managing Village Farms wholesale and terminal market accounts in this region as well as the quickly expanding home delivery business segment for the company. 

Although she is the daughter of Michael DeGiglio, founder, President, and CEO of Village Farms International Inc., she didn’t get hooked on the industry until attending her first PMA Fresh Summit conference back in 2013.  “My decision to join the company was fueled by the many authentic people I connected with at this time. I was truly impressed then and continue to be now by Village Farms’ commitment to sustainability combined with their unique and exclusive tomato varieties that seek to drive not only solid customer value but unsurpassed consumer value.” said DeGiglio. “All of these elements fuel my passion today as I focus on increasing brand value for my customers.”

As the future of the produce industry unfolds, DeGiglio feels encouraged by current trends within the industry. While advancements and innovations within companies are changing the industry, in part due to a generational shift, one thing that remains constant is the importance of relationships.

“Over the last 4 years I have observed more and more young professionals joining the produce industry. Millennials and Gen Z are fortunate to be working amongst those who have been in produce for most or all of their careers. The knowledge, passion and expertise passed on is invaluable, and something that can only be experienced firsthand not learned from a book. I am pleasantly surprised to work with people who are extremely committed to this industry and I appreciate how many doors a solid network can open for you. Produce is all about maintaining relationships, staying dedicated, being ethical, and keeping one’s integrity intact; these are some of the reasons I love working in this industry.  Working for Village Farms, a company who has grown their business over the past 30 years by abiding to these principles makes me feel optimistic for the future.  At Village Farms we like to say, ‘It takes a Village’ and I see this village as a solid foundation within the company I work for and the produce industry at large all working together toward a common goal to bring healthy products into people’s daily lives.”


Village Farms to Host Virtual Summer Supper Club


As seen on The Packer

Village Farms has partnered with My Diary of Us to host a virtual Summer Supper Club July 16 and 18 at 8pm EST.

The event is set to take place live via Instagram, according to a news release.

Two recipes — spicy Asian cucumber noodle salad and grilled cioppino foil packets — will be featured, according to the release.

“We had a lot of positive feedback and honest conversation during the Spring Supper Club gatherings which focused on easy-to-prepare kid-friendly meals,” Helen Aquino, director of brand marketing and communications for Village Farms, said in the release. “This round we are going a little more adult, exploring the tastes of Asia and Italy with a summer twist.”

Village Farms and My Diary of Us encourages participants to download the shopping list and cook during the event.






Village Farms to Highlight Organics & Innovations at CPMA


As seen on Fresh Plaza

Village Farms is poised to pack a punch in Montreal at the upcoming Canadian Produce Marketing Association trade show & conference held on April 3rd and 4th, 2019. 

The company will be adding the original & authentic Heavenly Villagio Marzano® and Maverick Mix® varieties to their certified organic offerings. These new items will be offered in 10 oz. and 1lb top seal packaged containers with attractive earthy designs.


“With the continued success of our Stackable Snackables line of top seal packaged tomatoes the natural next step for us is to offer top seal packaging for our new Organic items that will provide all the same proven benefits to retailers and consumers,” said Helen L. Aquino, Director of Corporate Brand Marketing & Communication. “Village Farms Heavenly Villagio Marzano® is the one, the only, and the original, authentic mini San Marzano tomato available on the market today in North America, and we are pleased to now offer these as certified organic as well to our customers.”


Village Farms will also be showing its award-winning Stackable Snackables line of top seal packaged tomatoes filled with their garden fresh exclusive varieties such as Lorabella Blossom®, Heavenly Villagio Marzano®, Cabernet Estate Reserve®, Cherry no. 9 Fall in Love Again®, Maverick Mix®, and Lip Smackn’ Grape®.


(Andrew Sable, Sales Manager; and Avery LeFils, Marketing Coordinator)

They’ve also been working on some exciting new seasonal items to really “mix things up” including their new Chameleon Collection™.  Please come by booth 1405 and say hello to fellow villagers Aman Chatha, Northwest District Sales Manager; Andrew Sable, Sales Manager; and Avery LeFils, Marketing Coordinator at booth #1405 to get a sneak peek! 


Village Farms Spreads the Word About Healthy Eating


As seen on The Packer

Village Farms recently sponsored and participated in “Cars for the Cure”, a car show benefitting the American Lung Association. This event showcased an array of the most distinctive and unforgettable cars from around the world during a daylong, family-friendly festival.

A team of volunteers from Village Farms spent the day giving away almost 2000 pounds of their authentic Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes to participants, attendees, and volunteers. The Transformer Bumblebee even got in on the action to create some buzz about eating healthy!


“Village Farms was proud to be a sponsor and support Cars for the Cure in its 15th year,” said Helen Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing and Communications. “Participating in an event like this for such a good cause was especially rewarding. We truly enjoyed getting out in our community to promote health and wellness and we loved hearing time and time again how much people enjoy the Garden Fresh Flavor® of our tomatoes!”

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the oldest voluntary health organization in the United States and the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Founded in 1904 to fight tuberculosis, the American Lung Association today fights lung disease in all its forms, with special emphasis on asthma, tobacco control and environmental health.


Stackable Snackables Wins Joe Nucci Award for Product Innovation


As seen on Fresh Plaza

Village Farms Stackable Snackables™ series of exclusive specialty tomatoes in new top-seal packaging won the Joe Nucci Award for Product Innovation at New York Produce Show and Conference sponsored by Produce Business Magazine last week held at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City. The new packaging features bold, eye-catching colors and designs while keeping sustainability and consumer convenience top of mind and delivering concise retailer benefits.

The clear resealable top-seal film is rimmed with original illustrations depicting the spirit of each variety in a fun and lively way. Available in 10 oz. sized containers are Heavenly Villagio Marzano®, Lorabella Blossom®, Maverick Mix®, Cabernet Estate Reserve®, Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® and Lip Smackn’ Grapes®, all are exclusive tomato varieties from Village Farms.

Last year the company was one of ten Innovation Award winners for its newest specialty tomato variety, Lorabella Blossom®, a tomato that boasts a blissfully bright flavor profile. This year in addition to being an Innovation Award winner the company was also the overall award winner of the competition for Stackable Snackables™ receiving the prestigious Joe Nucci award. Village Farms Director of Brand Marketing and Communication, Helen L. Aquino, accepted the award from Jim Prevor, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Produce Business magazine and Joe Nucci’s sister, Lorri Koster, at the Thought-Leader breakfast.

“We are elated to win the overall Joe Nucci award,” Aquino said. “Our marketing team worked diligently in creating, testing, and trailing this program. The graphics embody the spirit of each variety in order to entice consumers on shelf with the overall intention of increasing tomato consumption while the Stackable Snackables™ series delivers clear benefits for our customers hence the old axiom used as the programs tagline, ‘Stack ‘em High and Watch ‘em Fly’.”

Retailers are embracing the Stackable Snackables™ program for its three-fold benefits; more items per square inch of merchandising space allowing five-high container stacking, increased shelf life compared to bags or clamshells and reduced plastic waste compared to clamshells making top-seal better for the environment.



Two Winners Crowned for Village Farms 2018 PMA Taste Challenge!


As seen on AndNowUKnow

For those who attended 2018 PMA Fresh Summit, you know there was an abundance of excitement to spare. One such company leading the action was Village Farms, who asked showgoers to vote for their favorite tomato in their “Are you Sweet or Smooth?” tomato taste test challenge. Participants casted their vote by stating their preference for either Village Farms signature and exclusive “Sweet” red Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato or, the newest variety to their offerings, the “Smooth” orange Lorabella Blossom tomato. Each tomato offers a unique flavor profile, but the results were not as divisive as one might expect. Those in the sweet camp were practically equal to those in the smooth camp.


“It is wonderful to compliment the Nielsen consumption data we use with this rich qualitative taste challenge data that shows consumers are becoming more adventurous in their taste preferences and delighting in our little orange snacking tomato Lorabella Blossom just as much as they have been with our Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato,” said Helen L. Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing & Communication.

Village Farms noted in its press release that after the success of its Heavenly Villagio Marzano—a variety that launched at PMA seven years ago—the company was sure the market was ready for the smooth taste of Lorabella Blossom. Aquino stated that while the orange tomato is unconventional in color, this promotion has shown consumers are ready for new flavor opportunities in the tomato category.

Village Farms is ramping up production on both the Heavenly Villagio Marzano and Lorabella Blossom tomatoes and is ready for a strong winter season with these varieties, as well as all of its other flavorsome tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumber varieties.


Village Farms asks, ‘Are you sweet or smooth?’


As seen on Perishable News

Village Farms is ready to celebrate and has a few surprises in store for this year’s PMA.  First, Village Farms is celebrating the success of its flagship tomato variety, Heavenly Villagio Marzano.  Launched at PMA 2011, it has seen unprecedented success for the past 7 years.  According to Bret Wiley, SVP of Sales for Village Farms, “the success of Heavenly Villagio Marzano is attributed to a number of key factors, no one else has a tomato just like our Heavenly Villagio Marzano, it is an extremely versatile tomato with a unique flavor people love, and it has amazing shelf life our customers think is fantastic.”  Heavenly Villagio Marzano is the only authentic San Marzano tomato available in North American today and it has won over the hearts of consumers, foodies, and chef’s alike with its amazing authentic flavor.  Wiley goes on to say because of the success of Heavenly Villagio Marzano we want to build on this to get the word out about the newest addition to our exclusive specialty tomato offerings also in the San Marzano family, Lorabella Blossom at this year’s PMA. Lorabella Blossom is an orange tomato bursting with fragrant floral notes, citrus essence and earthy undertones some have described as reminiscent of tangerines, apricots, almonds, and honey.

“Are you Sweet or are you Smooth” is a consumer taste challenge campaign Village Farms will be promoting in their booth at PMA this year.  Show goers will have the opportunity to taste both tomatoes firsthand to determine if they are “sweet” like Heavenly Villagio Marzano or if they are “smooth” just like Lorabella Blossom.  Helen L. Aquino, Director Brand Marketing & Communications for Village Farms told us, “This is a fun way to get folks to try our tomatoes, there are no right or wrong answers for this campaign and everyone is a winner – you take the challenge and get a sticker proclaiming, “I’m Sweet” or “I’m Smooth”.  Plus, the best part is that by casting your vote you can enter for a chance to win an awesome Traeger Grill.”   Aquino goes on to tell us while most people may not associate tomatoes with grilling, Village Farms varieties are great for this and more, “We have a plethora of tried and true exclusive recipes on our website for Heavenly Villagio Marzano and Lorabella Blossom that are perfect for grilling, roasting, and cooking”.

In addition, the company will be looking to ring in 2019 as its 30th year in business with a cocktail reception open to all during the last hour of on the first day of PMA in their booth on the tradeshow floor 3601 from 5-6pm.  The event theme “30 years and still growing strong”, signifies a milestone for Village Farms as one of the largest and longest operating vertically integrated greenhouse growers in North America and the only publicly traded greenhouse produce company in Canada. The company is elated for this opportunity to toast all of its loyal customers, suppliers, vendors, and friends while raising a glass to a bright future for all.


Village Farms Launches Stackable Snackables


Village Farms’ has launched a new topseal program for of their exclusive specialty snacking tomatoes. Available in 10oz sized containers now available are Heavenly Villagio Marzano®, Cabernet Estate Reserve®, Cherry no 9®, Lip Smackn’ Grape®, Maverick Mix™, and Village Farms’ newest tomato variety Lorabella Blossom®. The clear topseal label-film rimmed with fun and lively designs depicting the spirit of each variety are all original illustrations as part of the ‘Stackable Snackables’ line created exclusively by Village Farms.


Village Farms is challenging consumers to ‘Snack with Impact’ to encourage healthy snacking through their new ‘Stackable Snackables’ program. Retailers are embracing the program for its three-fold benefits; more items per square inch of merchandising space allowing five high container stacking, increased shelf life compared to bags or clamshells and reduced plastic waste compared to clamshells making topseal better for the environment. According to Helen L. Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing & Communications for Village Farms, “Increasing dollar sales in the same shelf space and reducing the potential of out of stock all while improving labor efficiency with less restocking are all benefits with this program. Plus reducing shrink by increasing shelf life with topseal containers provides an important benefit for our retail partners.”

Village Farms Stackable Snackable program is designed to make healthy snacking fun and easy for consumers with the high impact graphics enticing consumers to ‘Snack with Impact’. For more information visit Village Farms’ website at



Village Farms Enters into New, Exclusive Long-Term Agreement with Agroparque de Yecapixtla


Village Farms International, Inc. (“Village Farms” or the “Company”) (TSX:VFF) (OTC: VFFIF) today announced it has entered into a new, exclusive, seven-year agreement to sell, market, and distribute Village Farms’ exclusive tomato varieties grown by Mexico-based Agroparque de Yecapixtla. The new agreement extends the existing agreement between the two companies, under which Agroparque de Yecapixtla grows tomato varieties for Village Farms, including Village Farms’ exclusive specialty varieties, which are distributed under the Village Farms brand and sold to Village Farms’ marquee retail & food service partners in the United States and Canada.

Agroparque de Yecapixtla is in the process of a major expansion, more than doubling its growing area to 125 acres from its current 50 acres through an addition to its existing  greenhouse and state of the art packaging facility built just two years ago. This expansion will further leverage its scale and expertise to expand into cucumbers and peppers, which will also be sold, marketed and distributed under the agreement.

Agroparque de Yecapixtla is located in the state of Morelos, just south of Mexico City, a mountainous region with warm days and cool nights that makes it one of the best areas for greenhouse growing in all of Mexico, and ideal for tomato, pepper, and cucumber plant cultivation. The company’s master farmers have generations of experience cultivating tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. As part of the extended agreement, Village Farms will continue to provide Agroparque de Yecapixtla with technical expertise in growing and packaging operation support, with two full-time Village Farms employees on site.


Michael A. DeGiglio, President & CEO for Village Farms had this to say about the agreement, “We are thrilled to build on this existing and flourishing relationship with Agroparque de Yecapixtla. Village Farms prides itself in its ability to deliver year round consistent quality products to its customers. This new, exclusive, long-term agreement with Agroparque de Yecapixtla further solidifies Village Farms’ value commitment to its customers. And reflecting upon our many years of operating in Mexico we are most grateful to be associated with such a highly respected company lead by the honorable Mr. Miguel”

We are pleased to commence upon this long term agreement between Village Farms and Agroparque de Yecapixtla, a great achievement uniting not only these two companies but inaugurating the Mexican countryside as a source of reliable and quality product.

According to Michael Minerva, SVP, Grower Relations & Supply Development for Village Farms, “Working with Agroparque de Yecapixtla over the past year has confirmed for us that we are aligned with a great long-term partner in Mexico who will further enhance our winter supply capabilities for our growing customer base. We look forward to accomplishing great things together in the years to come.”

Download the press release here

This has also appeared on AndNowUKnown and The Produce News


Named to 2018 OTCQX Best 50


Vancouver, B.C. – January 24, 2018 – Village Farms International, Inc. (Village Farms) (VFF.TSX) (OTCQX:VFFIF), is pleased to announce it has been named to the 2018 OTCQX® Best 50, a ranking of top performing companies traded on the OTCQX Best Market last year.

The OTCQX Best 50 is an annual ranking of the top 50 U.S. and international companies traded on the OTCQX market. The ranking is calculated based on an equal weighting of one-year total return and average daily dollar volume growth in the previous calendar year. Companies in the 2018 OTCQX Best 50 were ranked based on their performance in 2017.

“Our ranking as the fourth best performing company traded on the OTCQX in 2017 – up from 17th prior year — reflects our position as one of the largest vertically integrated greenhouse growers in North America alongside our ability to leverage our 30 years of experience to capitalize on new opportunities that will drive future profitability and generate long-term shareholder value,” said Michael DeGiglio, CEO, Village Farms International. “We would once again like to acknowledge the OTCQX for its continued support, providing a liquid and efficient market for our many US shareholders.”

For the complete 2018 OTCQX Best 50 ranking, visit

The OTCQX Best Market offers transparent and efficient trading of established, investor-focused U.S. and global companies. To qualify for the OTCQX market, companies must meet high financial standards, follow best practice corporate governance, demonstrate compliance with U.S. securities laws and have a professional third-party sponsor introduction. The companies found on OTCQX are distinguished by the integrity of their operations and diligence with which they convey their qualifications.

See press release here.




Why Some Greenhouses Are Sourcing Landfill Gas


As seen on Waste 360

by Arlene Karidis

British Columbia is mandated to have 75 percent landfill gas collection efficiency, and to comply with this mandate, landfills are partnering with greenhouses.

One of these landfills, Vancouver Landfill, has formed a relationship with Village Farms International, designers and operators of greenhouses in North America that also sell produce. Vancouver Landfill sells about 55 percent of its gas to Village Farms, which uses it to heat one of its greenhouses while generating electricity for Canadian electric utility BC Hydro.

Heating is among these plant growers’ highest expenses, and they require a lot of energy for a relatively small footprint. Further, they typically prioritize reducing their carbon footprint, so a cheaper, cleaner alternative to natural gas appeals to them.
These projects aren’t considered big moneymakers for landfills, but they benefit too.

“We receive $300,000 a year from this project, which is not much considering our capital costs for gas collection,” says Lynn Belanger, manager of transfer and landfill operations for the city of Vancouver in British Columbia. “But we are beneficially using gas that would otherwise be flared. The greenhouse had a need and was close by, making it economically viable for both them and us.”

With this project, the city of Vancouver is projected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 19,000-metric tons a year, according to a recent study , and Village Farms creates about 7.2 mw of electricity for the grid, while finding a use for waste heat generated during the conversion to grow its plants.

Co-location of the landfill and greenhouse is key to conserving energy and minimizing materials required to make pipeline. But there are other considerations, as well as challenges.

“Generally, greenhouses grow plants year-round. And growing in cold weather is typically the greenhouses’ biggest battle because it requires a lot of heat without interruptions,” says Curt Publow, environmental compliance manager for South Side Landfill in Indianapolis, which houses Crossroads Greenhouse, a 6.5-acre operation using the facility’s landfill gas for heat.

Maintaining these projects is a full-time job, says Timm Muth, director of Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro, N.C., which started with a landfill gas project to heat art studios at the energy park at the landfill and to power the studios’ equipment.

“We built a greenhouse adjacent to the landfill and heated it for three years with no technical problems,” says Muth. “But as we expanded the art studio, it became impossible to run both operations. When the boiler came on to heat the greenhouse, it would cause a gas pressure drop that impacted the studio. And when the greenhouse boiler shut off, the pressure was too high, which caused the gas system to shut down.”
There are also other landfill gas/greenhouse projects around the U.S., such as the ones involving Rutgers EcoComplex in Burlington, N.J.; Five Oaks Landfill in Taylorsville, Ill.; Northern Tier Solid Waste Authority in Troy, Pa.; and Springfield Sanitary Landfill in Greene County, Miss.

Success of these projects is dependent on having a greenhouse manager and an expert to manage the landfill gas system working as partners to ensure supply and flow continues in a way that works for both the landfill and greenhouse.

“If we are doing maintenance on the gas collection side, we work closely with the greenhouse,” says Belanger. “Should our work impact the greenhouse’s flow, we would coordinate so the greenhouse can do maintenance at the same time to minimize down time.”

Still, there may be short periods where gas is not available, so having a backup fuel source is critical, says Dave Specca, assistant director for controlled environment agriculture and bioenergy at Rutgers EcoComplex Clean Energy Innovation Center. The EcoComplex uses landfill gas to heat a greenhouse adjacent to the landfill in a business incubator for greenhouse startups.

“The key to making it work for both the landfill/municipality and the greenhouse is a well-written, long-term contract where both the greenhouse and the landfill can recover their investment,” says Specca. “A reliable supply of landfill gas is equally important. Ideally, it should be available 85 to 95 percent of the time.”

Southside Landfill has limited options for use of landfill gas, says Publow. Not only does the greenhouse project provide an alternative to flaring some of it and a small income, it has boosted the public image of both the disposal site and the greenhouse.

Collectively, Publow says, the partners are seeing that this renewable, existing energy source is put to beneficial use. And it’s done locally to cut emissions and grow plants in the community.

Click here to download a .pdf version of this article



Village Farms Wins Produce Business Innovation Award


Village Farms Lorabella Blossom™ tomato received the first annual Produce Business Innovation Award at the New York Produce Show last week. This blissfully bright™ orange tomato caught the eye of the judges and is catching the eye of consumers as something the tomato category hasn’t seen yet.

Everyone at Village Farms has had a major part in bringing this innovative variety to market. Thanks to the expertise of our growers, operations, finance, sales, transportation and marketing Lorabella Blossom™ is exceeding expectations and bringing consumers a flavor profile unlike any other. The unique citrus floral essence makes it an exceptional snacking tomato that is extremely versatile, making it great for grilling, roasting and sautéing as well.


According to Michael DeGiglio, President and CEO of Village Farms, “The Village Farms team has always been known for going above and beyond to deliver the absolute best flavor in the industry.  This award just goes to show that we’ve done it again with Lorabella Blossom™. We are honored to receive this award as it truly takes a village to consistently bring innovative products like this one to life.  This variety and its name hold a special place in my heart”

In early October, Produce Business evaluated more than 45 new innovative products, following a 10-point-scale criteria grid with a concentration on three P’s for innovation: Product (intrinsic properties of the fruit or vegetable itself), Packaging (unique attributes that not only improve shelf-life but add to the marketability of the item) and Processing (added value by making the product more convenient or augmenting with more components to complete a flavor profile or meal). Based on that criteria Village Farms was chosen as one of ten honorees to be recognized as a winner of the inaugural Innovation Award from Produce Business Magazine at the New York Produce Show.

Download the press release here



For the Good of the Earth


As seen in the December issue of BOSS Magazine

The bright red cherry tomato bursts with a pop as you sink your teeth into it, and for a few delightful seconds it’s still summertime—even though it’s winter. You take another bite to make sure you’re not imagining that freshness, and sure enough, it’s just as bright, tart, and sweet as the first. The taste takes you back to your childhood, when you’d steal tomatoes from a neighbor’s garden, helping yourself to another, and another…

As summer fades and the air grows colder you’ve become accustomed to the average pinkish-orange globes posing as tomatoes that start filling the shelves of the produce department. Thankfully, Village Farms has no interest in growing average produce, and their environmentally friendly growing methods allow for fresh, high quality produce year-round. In fact, nothing that the North American based company does is anywhere near average and that’s not just great for veggie lovers—it’s great for the planet, too.

As the premier greenhouse grower of tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and other crops in North America, Village Farms’ dedication to sustainability, technology, and innovation shows with every pristine vegetable picked. Launched in Pennsylvania in 1988, Village Farms has grown from a single 10-acre greenhouse operation to a vertically-integrated agricultural enterprise.

“On day one it wasn’t the plan,” admitted Mike DeGiglio, Village Farms’ President and CEO. “Our first crop was half peppers, half tomatoes, and our focus was on being a grower.”

When that first crop was rejected by a surly Northeastern produce broker for being “no good,” DeGiglio ignored the slight.
“We hired a sales guy the next day and never looked back.”

New Day, New Business Model
When the company began, all of the disciplines in traditional produce companies were separate.

“The grower is the grower, who went to a labor manager to pick the crop, then to a processor who graded and sorted it. Then that’s sent to a trucking company, then to a broker. That broker would send it to a retailer,” DeGiglio recounted. “We asked ourselves, ‘why can’t we do all of it?’” The answer was, “We can.” and today, Village Farms is an end-to-end operation.

“Today we have 270 skus and 35 tomato varieties,” he noted. “We slowly added more salespeople, distribution centers, and transportation. We became a vertically integrated producer. We have our own engineering, even though there are plenty of companies that build greenhouses.”

The company built a sophisticated greenhouse in West Texas, in part of the Chihuahuan Desert.  “It’s not quite a biosphere but pretty close. It’s 110 degrees all summer and only 20 degrees in winter,” he chuckled, a trace of awe in his voice. “Nothing grows there but tumbleweeds and lizards. We’re like an oasis—it blows people away.”

Today, the company owns and operates seven facilities in British Columbia and Texas, and provides operational and technical support and logistics services for more than an additional 150 acres of greenhouse production throughout Canada and Mexico.

The Greenhouse Difference
Greenhouse growing is far superior to conventional land farming, producing better crops with markedly less waste and dramatically less environmental impact.

“It’s a combination of food safety, quality of the product, shelf life of the product, and taste—it’s consistent, available 365 days a year, and not just seasonal,” DeGiglio explained.

Indoor growing is the premier method of sustainable production and allows Village farms to use integrated pest management as biological control, meaning they release good bugs to combat bad bugs instead of using chemical pesticides. “Of all agricultural products, proteins like beef and chicken, row crops, and fruits and vegetables, I think greenhouse growing, is by far the most sustainable type of agriculture there is, even over organic growing methods,” he said.

“When you are in a controlled environment greenhouse, utilizing the same resources an outdoor farmer would use like sunlight and water, you can do it in an environment that is much more efficient and productive,” he added.

These carefully monitored environments offer protection against elements typical farmers have no control over, like wind, rain, and extreme heat and cold.

“We can produce output that has 30 times more yield per acre than crops grown on farmland. A 100-acre greenhouse produces the equivalent of 3,000-acre farm. And you can locate a greenhouse close to anywhere depending on the technology you use.”

Earth First
Village Farms’ approach to sustainability abides by a commitment to leave the earth’s resources for future generations. “The way Village Farms fits that definition of sustainability is: one, we don’t use soil, so it takes a lot less land for the same amount of crops. Two, we don’t take any nutrients out of the soil. Three, we don’t leachate any of our solutions into the ground,” DeGiglio enumerated.

“It took 500,000 years for the first one billion human beings to be on the planet. There are now seven-plus billion of us. The demographics say that by 2050, there will be a 30 percent increase of the population of the planet. That’s 2.5 billion people. Whether that number is up or down by twenty percent doesn’t matter,” he posited. “How is agriculture going to feed that amount of people with the same amount of water? It has to come from efficiency and sustainability.”

The company chose growing regions in British Columbia and Texas based on the climate conditions most favorable to producing consistently superior quality crops. “You can’t move your farm to take advantage of a better climate,” he mused. “In Texas, we grow at the southernmost latitude a the highest elevation in the U.S. We are at a 5,000-foot elevation. We do that because of the warm days and cool nights.”
Natural gas is used to heat the greenhouse at night.

“The boilers designed for greenhouses over the past three decades are so efficient and clean, the carbon dioxide (CO2) that’s released is food grade. We capture all of it, and pump it into the greenhouse,” he revealed. “As you remember from ninth grade biology, plants take in CO2 and make oxygen. Not only do we not extract the CO2 into the atmosphere, we convert it into oxygen. That can’t be done outside.”

Village Farms produces only non-GMO crops, grown in an organic medium made of coconut husks. Crops are vine ripened and hand-picked at the exact right moment for the absolute best taste.

“A lot of field growers pick tomatoes when they’re green,” he said. “If a tomato doesn’t get to a certain level of maturity the ripening process never occurs. So they spray an ethylene gas on it so it turns an orangey pink. Bananas are shipped green, and when they’re ready to ship to the store they spray them with ethylene. Vine ripened taste is much better.”

The company’s agricultural engineers are working on extending product shelf life. “There’s all kinds of good things happening that drives a better tasting, safer product, and people can trust that brand,” he added.

Committing to the Cannabis Crop
Canada approved the use of medical marijuana in 2001, and pending legislation is expected to legalize it for recreational use in mid 2018. Village Farms recently entered into a partnership with Emerald Health Therapeutics, a bio-pharma company focused on the use of cannabinoids to treat disease.

“We are currently in the process of converting our smallest greenhouse footprint of 1.1 million square feet to cannabis in British Columbia. It’s a very new crop, and a lot of the early folks that got into it weren’t farmers, they were just folks who saw an opportunity. We thought our ability to grow any crop was a good fit,” he stated.

“We’ve done modeling, we talked to Health Canada, and we saw a great opportunity in conversions of our Canadian high-tech greenhouses as a lower cost model rather than building new ones because we feel that it will eventually become commoditized out, and when it does, in the end it’s the low-cost producer that survives. That’s always a prudent thing in agriculture.”

While practicality is at the heart of everything Village Farms does as a business, the people of Village Farms are really what makes the difference and our planet—and palates—are much better for it.

Click here to downlod a .pdf version of this article


Social Responsibility

Village Farms Donates Time on #GivingTuesday


On November 28 a team from Village Farms and Produce for Kids celebrated #GivingTuesday by volunteering their time at Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando, Fla. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

“Being able to give back to our community alongside friends from the produce industry is so rewarding,” said Helen Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing and Communications. “We are so grateful for the ability to do our part in assisting in the fight against hunger.”

The teams spent the morning sorting produce that would go on to make more than 4,000 meals. Second Harvest Food Bank provides an especially important service in the Orlando area because 1 in 6 Central Floridians are food insecure and 1 in 4 kids in the area are at risk of going to bed hungry. Second Harvest supplies more than 550 local nonprofit feeding programs to help combat those statistics.

#GivingTuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and has gained traction over the last six years amongst the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

About Village Farms
Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers, and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables in North America. The food our farmers grow, along with other greenhouse farmers under exclusive arrangements are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses. The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada. Since its inception, Village Farms has been guided by sustainability principles that enable us to grow food 365 days a year that not only feeds the growing population but is healthier for people and the planet. Village Farms is Good for the Earth® and good for you.

See press release here.



Social Responsibility

Generation Next: It takes a Village to be successful, says Krysten DeGiglio


As seen in the November 27, 2017 issue of The Produce News
by Maggie Giuffrida
Growing up, Krysten DeGiglio was admittedly not a huge fan of tomatoes, but oh, how the times have changed now that the 30-year-old Holmdel, NJ, resident works as a regional sales manager for Village Farms — the oldest greenhouse grower in the United States, specializing in exclusive varieties of tomatoes, as well as cucumbers and peppers.

“I pop a Cherry No. 9 tomato like candy!” DeGiglio laughed. “The Heavenly Villagio Marzano is also one of my favorites. Although it’s great to snack on, I absolutely love to cook with it — and it is so versatile. If I’m trying to impress someone in the kitchen, it’s always my staple ingredient.”

A graduate of Fairfield University in Connecticut, DeGiglio earned her bachelor’s and master’s of business administration degrees in accounting. While in college, DeGiglio studied abroad in Florence, Italy, for one semester.

“This experience sparked my interested to learn about different cultures and travel,” she said.

After graduation, DeGiglio worked for Ernst & Young for four-and-a-half years, and then did a short stint with a pharmaceutical company before discovering her true passion for the produce industry.

“I was invited to attend the PMA Fresh Summit show in 2013,” DeGiglio told The Produce News. “It was the first time I was really exposed to the produce industry and I fell in love with it. Since then, I thought this is where my passion lies, this would make for a fulfilling career.”

But there wasn’t an immediate “in” for DeGiglio, despite the fact that her father, Michael DeGiglio, is co-founder and chief executive officer at Village Farms.

“Truly being a public company, there are no family ties here,” DeGiglio noted.

So she waited patiently, and in August of 2015, DeGiglio got a call from her father about an opening in the Village Farms sales department.

“There was a need to hire a Northeast sales manager,” she recalled. “Village Farms entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Great Northern Hydroponics, a greenhouse grower with 70 acres of production capacity in Leamington, Ontario. This provided an opportunity to extend the company’s entire product line into the Northeast to new and existing customers, and gave Village Farms incentive to hire a millennial with a go-getter mentality.”

And just like that, DeGiglio knew she was the right person for the role. She interviewed with Bret Wiley, senior vice president of sales for the company, and a couple months later, DeGiglio was working her dream job.

“I will always remember what Bret told me before I joined the company,” she said. “He informed me that produce is one of the most challenging industries to work in and that I was going to need tough skin. Looking back over the last two years, I would have to say he was right.”

But those challenges haven’t come without their rewards.

“The most rewarding part for me is working for a company that I’m proud to represent. Village Farms is good for people and the planet,” she said. “I feel fortunate to be part of a team of experienced professionals. Many of my colleagues have worked in produce their entire careers. The knowledge they share is not something you can learn from a book — it’s invaluable.”

One of her greatest mentors, she noted, is her father, who without his help and guidance “this wouldn’t be possible.”

“I’ve never met someone who works so hard,” DeGiglio said. “He never gives up, he never stops, and he always follows through. Personally, I feel extremely fortunate to work for the company at the same time as my father. I get to observe what a great leader, friend, confidant and CEO he is to all at Village Farms.”

And being a part of that Village Farms family is something DeGiglio certainly does not take for granted either.

“Even though a lot of us work remotely, when we come together it truly feels like we’re a family, and that’s really unique,” she said. “It makes me want to keep working harder and harder.”

As far as obstacles she faces in her role as a sales manager, DeGiglio said those mostly revolve around fluctuating supply and demand, which can be difficult at times, but working with her team to identify and solve problems that arise is an essential part of the job.

“My position relies on all the other facets of this business, from production to transportation to marketing to sales. It’s a very integrated network, which is what I love so much about it,” she noted.

That sense of teamwork and camaraderie among her coworkers and clients is something DeGiglio plans to continue honing in on in the New Year.

“My goal is to take my relationships to the next level,” she said. “I want to become more of a consumer-focused specialist and help to integrate sales and marketing internally and externally, which in return will escalate the partnerships that we have.”

After all, it does take a Village.




Social Responsibility

Village Farms Director Roberta Cook named One of Produce Grower’s 10 People Who Are Influencing the Produce Industry


As seen in the October 2017 issue of Produce Grower
by Neil Moran

Dr. Roberta Cook
Director, Village Farms
A longtime academic economist now advises an industry-leading grower

roberta_cook-sizedAfter 31 years working at University of California, Davis, Dr. Roberta Cook remains as passionate about the produce industry as when she was still a graduate student at Michigan State University.

“In my career at UC Davis, I was tasked with looking at all the key supply and demand trends affecting markets for fresh produce in California,” says Cook, who held the position of extension economist in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics. She is now on the board of directors at Village Farms and Ocean Mist Farms.

Her research and consultations have allowed her to gain key insights into the trends affecting the product industry – information that should be valuable to both growers and retailers. Cook says consumers became very value-conscious during the recession and haven’t reverted to earlier buying practices, making competitive pricing even more important for retailers, which puts pressure on suppliers.

One of the biggest trends she sees affecting the industry, which will most likely continue for years to come is “channel blurring,” or the advent of more and more types of competing retail outlets for fresh produce, beyond the conventional supermarket of old.

“From Walmart Supercenters to club stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, drug stores, online sales and limited assortment stores, such as Aldi and Trader Joe’s, the proliferation of store formats is still expanding.” Cooks says.




Village Farms Introducing Lorabella Blossom Tomato


As seen on The Produce News on September 28, 2017

by Keith Loria

As the fall season gets under way, the staff at Village Farms is excited about some great things happening in the months ahead, including gearing up for PMA Fresh Summit 2017 in New Orleans (booth No. 453), where it plans to feature its newest tomato variety, Lorabella Blossom.

“This is what we are calling a ‘blissfully bright’ tomato that we are introducing as part of our authentic San Marzano family of products,” said Helen L. Aquino, director of brand marketing and communication for the Heathrow, FL-based company. “It has the same shape and mouth appeal as our signature Heavenly Villagio Marzano, an authentic mini San Marzano variety.”

lorabella-blossom-package-photo-for-webThe Heavenly Villagio Marzano is the only authentic mini San Marzano tomato sold in North America that hails from the mother genetics of the San Marzano tomato originally grown in Italy and known the world over for its amazing flavor and sauce making qualities, according to the company.

“Not to be outdone, Lorabella Blossom is a cousin to this variety and maintains similar old world sensibilities in a unique flavor profile but with a twist all its own,” Aquino said. “Its vibrant bright orange color is so attractive and an unexpected color disruptor on shelf consumers will love seeing. We are calling it Lorabella Blossom because the flavor actually blooms in your mouth with a unique citrus floral essence. The fragrant floral notes and citrus essence are complimented by smooth earthy undertones to form a balanced harmony in flavor.”

She added that the product is versatile as well, allowing for easy snacking due to its one-bite size, or can be roasted in a chunky sauce or grilled on kebabs. And it also makes a refreshingly zesty salsa.

“We will be sampling it during Fresh Summit in a number of dishes for visitors to the booth to try,” Aquino said. “Village Farms’ brand ambassador, Kristina LaRue will be creating fun and surprising dishes during PMA with Lorabella Blossom, as well as our other exclusive specialty varieties.”

LaRue is a registered dietitian and will be on hand to give demonstrations throughout the show in Village Farms’ booth while sharing her take on fun healthy simple to prepare yet great tasting ideas for all of its products.

Village Farms is offering Lorabella Blossom in 10-ounce clamshells in limited volumes but will be gearing up into 2018 given the overwhelming interest by its customers.

Doug Kling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Village Farms, said there are plenty of new initiatives going on around the company geared toward stronger engagement with consumers regarding more targeted initiatives via social media, stronger localized support programs and new exclusive varieties.

“These programs are all targeted on meeting new demands for flavor, sustainability, and socially responsible activities, demanded and expected by millennials, Gen X, baby boomers and the broad range of consumers our industry covers including our retail partners,” he said. “In addition, we continue to expand our growing areas working with agro professionals at Village Farms with combined experiences of over 100 years in the greenhouse industry, focused on enhancing yields, and flavor in the most sustainable manner possible while providing state-of-the-art efficient methods of farming and driving positive outcomes for us and all our partners.”

Recently Village Farms was recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in British Columbia for 2017. The list is compiled by Business in Vancouver, a weekly business news journal that ranks companies based on outstanding growth over the last five years and is intended to provide a representative sample of companies in the province whose entrepreneurial direction and focus are gaining highest traction through new opportunities being seeded.


Social Responsibility

Village Farms Employees Offer Irma Relief to Second Harvest Food Bank


In an effort to provide support post Hurricane Irma Village Farms employees volunteered their time at the local Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando, Florida. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida distributes tens of millions of meals per year through 550 local nonprofit feeding programs geared toward the most vulnerable people such as seniors and children. In addition, the Food Bank provides a vital emergency food supply for the community in time of need. Village Farms employees spent the morning sorting food donations slated for disaster victims residing in six counties in central Florida.

“Village Farms takes the business of growing food for people very seriously so having the opportunity to give back to our local Food Bank who makes it a business of feeding people in need was a real pleasure”, said Helen L. Aquino, Director Brand Marketing & Communication for Village Farms. “Our time spent here today really felt great and something we wish to partake in again very soon”.

For more information visit about Village Farms please visit our website at

About Village Farms
Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers, and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables in North America. The food our farmers grow, along with other greenhouse farmers under exclusive arrangements are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses. The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada. Since its inception, Village Farms has been guided by sustainability principles that enable us to grow food 365 days a year that not only feeds the growing population but is healthier for people and the planet. Village Farms is Good for the Earth® and good for you.

See press release here.



Village Farms Recognized by Business In Vancouver as Fastest Growing Company


Business in Vancouver has recognized Village Farms as one of the fastest growing companies in British Columbia for 2017.  The list is compiled by Business in Vancouver, a weekly business news journal who ranks companies based on outstanding growth over the last five years. Business in Vancouver’s annual list of the fastest growing companies in British Columbia includes a wide range of entrepreneurs across many business sectors.  The list is intended to provide a representative sample of companies in the province whose entrepreneurial direction and focus are gaining highest traction through new opportunities being seeded.

About Village Farms

Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers, and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables in North America.  The food our farmers grow, along with other greenhouse farmers under exclusive arrangements are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses.  The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada.  Since its inception, Village Farms has been guided by sustainability principles that enable us to grow food 365 days a year that not only feeds the growing population but is healthier for people and the planet.  Village Farms is Good for the Earth® and good for you.

See press release here.



Social Responsibility

Village Farms Donates to Relief Efforts for Victims of Hurricane Harvey


A vast expanse of 600 miles separates Village Farms’ greenhouse in Marfa, Texas from Houston but the distance to the heart is much closer.  Bright and early this morning a Village Farms tractor trailer hit the road to bridge the span of this great distance loaded with fresh produce for the Houston Food Bank.  Village Farms’ employees pitched in yesterday, Labor Day, a national holiday, to help pack the ten thousand plus pounds of fresh tomatoes slated for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

“Texas is a big state and many of us here at Village Farms have loved ones in Houston and the surrounding East Texas areas impacted by this storm, our hearts go out to them and so this is the least we can do to show we care”, said Jan Korteland, Regional Facility Manager of Village Farms in West Texas.

Village Farms is the largest greenhouse grower of locally grown fresh produce in Texas.  Village Farms’ hand-picked vine ripened sustainably grown greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are sold in major retailers all over the state.  Village Farms is hoping its donation to the Houston Food Bank will help keep Texas strong.

About Village Farms

Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers, and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables in North America.  The food our farmers grow, along with other greenhouse farmers under exclusive arrangements are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses.  The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada.  Since its inception, Village Farms has been guided by sustainability principles that enable us to grow food 365 days a year that not only feeds the growing population but is healthier for people and the planet.  Village Farms is Good for the Earth® and good for you.

See press release here.



Village Farms to place cannabis crops in Delta greenhouses


As seen on HortiDaily on June 7villagefarmsemerald

Village Farms is getting into cannabis production. The company made an official announcement of a new joint venture agreement with Emerald Health Therapeutics, which will convert an initial 25 acres of their Ladner, B.C. greenhouse facility into a state of the art glasshouse for the annual production of 75,000 kilograms medical, and if permitted by applicable law, non-therapeutic cannabis for the adult-use market.

Village Farms, currently one of North America’s largest growers of greenhouse produce, says that the launch of the joint venture is a transformational opportunity to grow ‘a substantially more profitable agricultural product’. “Based on our conservative market pricing forecasts and yield projections, conversion of our Canadian greenhouse facilities to cannabis production could generate revenue of 10 to 15 times that of our current Canadian vegetable production with EBITDA margins potentially expanding to more than 50% compared with our current Canadian vegetable margins”, Village Farms CEO Mike DeGiglio said.


Village Farms CEO Mike DeGiglio speaking in April 2016 at the Indoor Ag-Con.

B.C.-based Emerald Health Therapeutics holds a license to cultivate and sell medical cannabis flower and oils out of its facility located in Victoria. By teaming up with Village Farms, the joint venture aims to become the lowest-cost, highest-quality cannabis producer in Canada, with a targeted production cost of less than 1.00 Canadian dollar per gram.

The transformation of the 25 acres in Ladner is the first step of the new partnership. The potential conversion of all of Village Farms’ Delta, BC greenhouse operations, if the applicable options were exercised, would conservatively be expected to yield approximately 300,000 kg of cannabis annually. Village Farms and Emerald believe this has the potential to fill a substantial portion of the potential Canadian production gap for both medical and non-therapeutic adult-use cannabis.

Village Farms’ move into the cannabis space does not come as a complete surprise. In February last year, CEO Mike DeGiglio already expressed interest in this new ‘cash crop’ during a television interview with “We will be building greenhouses, expanding our distribution model where we market for our partners who grow and we will also look at alternative crops,” he then said.


DeGiglio now added that aside from their latest cannabis venture, Village Farms will remain committed to its existing greenhouse produce business and that the company does not expect that the cultivation of cannabis will have a material impact on its existing produce production and distribution business. “We remain steadfastly committed to our existing produce business. We will continue to provide our customers with the premium-quality products they have come to know and expect throughout our 30-year history,” DeGiglio said. “In fact, the favourable economics of cannabis production are expected to provide Village Farms with the financial strength and resources necessary to further expand and solidify our industry-leading position. We fully expect to continue to expand capacity in our produce business to meet customer demand by exploring consolidation opportunities, as we have successfully done in the past, and through organic initiatives at our U.S. operations.”

The Village Farms locations in Ladner are state of the art glasshouses that use specially developed technologies to use methane gas from a local landfill to generate heat and electricity to grow tomato crops.

Click here for Village Farms press release “Village Farms International and Emerald Health form Joint Venture for Large-Scale Greenhouse Cannabis Production”



Village Farms Named to 2017 OTCQX Best 50


 Vancouver, B.C., February 2, 2017 – Village Farms International Inc. (Village Farms) (VFF.TSX) (OTCQX:VFFIF),  is pleased to announce it has been named to the 2017 OTCQX® Best 50, a ranking of top performing companies traded on the OTCQX Best Market last year.


otcqx-logoThe OTCQX Best 50 is an annual ranking of the top 50 U.S. and international companies traded on the OTCQX market.  The ranking is calculated based on an equal weighting of one-year total return and average daily dollar volume growth in the previous calendar year.  Companies in the 2017 OTCQX Best 50 were ranked based on their performance in 2016.

Michael A. DeGiglio, President & CEO of Village Farms had this to say upon receiving the award, “It is uncommon enough for a high tech agriculturally driven consumer products company to be publicly traded while at the same time excelling to rank as one of the top performing companies traded on OTCQX. Village Farms wishes to acknowledge with great appreciation the support of the OTCQX market for this award.  We are motivated to continue to drive greater profitability and growth in revenue fueled by the re-energized business climate of 2017 as we continue to diversify our product line applications across broader international consumer markets.”

For the complete 2017 OTCQX Best 50 ranking, visit

The OTCQX Best Market offers transparent and efficient trading of established, investor-focused U.S. and global companies. To qualify for the OTCQX market, companies must meet high financial standards, follow best practice corporate governance, demonstrate compliance with U.S. securities laws and have a professional third-party sponsor introduction. The companies found on OTCQX are distinguished by the integrity of their operations and diligence with which they convey their qualifications.

See press release here.



Village Farms Growing Market Share – Featured in Fortune Magazine



World-renowned author C.S. Lewis once said, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” Village Farms has been obeying this principle since our founding in 1987, and while people may not have been watching at first, they are starting to take notice. Fortune magazine featured Village Farms in their latest edition. Read the article below to learn more about what makes us the right choice.


As seen in the September 1 issue and upcoming December 15 issue of FORTUNE

Growing Market Share Through Sustainable Growing

A commitment to values has deep roots at Village Farms. 
There was a time when greenhouse-grown tomatoes meant very little to North American consumers. That began to change in the late 1980s, when the greenhouse industry, originally developed in the Netherlands, began in earnest on this continent.
Since then, the volume of greenhouse tomatoes sold at retail nationally has skyrocketed from less than 1% of the market to 68%, says Michael A. DeGiglio, co-founder, president, and CEO of Village Farms, the only one of the first three original U.S. greenhouse companies still producing today, and the only public greenhouse company in the world traded on the TSX and OTCQX.
The company, whose U.S. headquarters is in Heathrow, Fla., has grown its market share with a commitment to conservation and sustainability. It grows produce, including cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants, hydroponically, in 240 acres of greenhouses and by partner greenhouse growers. Village Farms’ greenhouses use 86% less water than a field grower and produce 20 to 30 times more yield per acre.
“Farmland is a finite resource the world over,” DeGiglio says. “And there’s only so much of it that’s fertile and in the right climate that is suitable for agriculture and producing food.”

Marfa, TX Greenhouse

At Village Farms, freshwater, a limited resource, is recycled and purified up to five times, and there are no contaminants leached from field runoff—important for food safety reasons. Village Farms grows non-GMO produce using integrated pest management, not pesticides, to control insects. And because the food grows hydroponically, there are no weeds or need for herbicides.
“We’ve been founded on these sustainable principles,” DeGiglio says. “And sustainable agriculture is far more encompassing than organic growing when considering environmental impact.”
Humane labor practices are also important to Village Farms, often one of the largest employers in the areas where it produces, such as West Texas and British Columbia.
“Our people aren’t running from field to field, crop to crop,” says Douglas Kling, a Village Farms SVP and CMO. “They have a home in Village Farms, there are benefits, we pay very good wages for farming, and in our view, that’s very responsible socially.”
In the past, greenhouses have been somewhat limited by location due to external climate growing conditions, meaning they’re typically located far from most consumers. But Village Farms is using technology and building greenhouses capable of creating the climate needed for growing, even in harsh environments, says Stephen C. Ruffini, CFO and a company director. “The future of greenhouse development is to locate them near high-consumption areas, no matter how severe the weather,” he adds. That’s changing the world of farming.
It’s also changing the world at large: Village Farms’ sustainable technologies and responsible business practices are not only growing the company’s bottom line but also helping to save the planet’s natural resources. No wonder the company slogan is “Good for the Earth.”

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CEO Michael DeGiglio interviewed in OTCQX video series


New York, May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ – Village Farms International (TSX: VFF; OTCQX: VFFIF), CEO Michael DeGiglio was interviewed by OTC Markets Group (OTCQX: OTCM) in its OTCQX® Video Series. The series features one-on-one interviews with senior executives of OTCQX companies as they showcase their businesses and investment profiles.

In the interview, Michael DeGiglio discusses:

  • Village Farms’ environmentally friendly and highly sustainable agricultural growing methods
  • The growth in the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry due to production processes that are more responsible compared to traditional agriculture farming methods
  • Business outlook given the need to address finite resources, such as farmland and water
    Village Farm’s decision to upgrade to the OTCQX Best Market to provide easier access to its U.S. shareholders
  • To watch the complete interview, visit OTC Markets Group’s YouTube page at

    Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables in North America. The food its farmers grow, along with other greenhouse farmers under exclusive arrangements, are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses. The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada.

    About OTC Markets Group Inc.

    OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCQX: OTCM) operates the OTCQX® Best Market, the OTCQB® Venture Market, and the Pink® Open Market for 10,000 U.S. and global securities. Through OTC Link® ATS, we connect a diverse network of broker-dealers that provide liquidity and execution services. We enable investors to easily trade through the broker of their choice and empower companies to improve the quality of information available for investors. To learn more about how we create better informed and more efficient markets, visit

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    The information contained in this press release and in the video to which it refers is provided “as is” for educational and informational purposes only, and should not serve as the basis for any trading or investing decisions. OTC Markets Group makes no representations and disclaims all express, implied and statutory warranties of any kind to any viewer or third party. Neither OTC Markets Group nor any of its affiliates makes any endorsement of any particular company, security, product or financial strategy, and nothing contained in this video should be construed as investment advice. Investors should undertake their own diligence and carefully evaluate companies before investing.



    Ease of Trading Expands for Village Farms Shares


    Vancouver, B.C., August 3, 2015 – Village Farms International Inc. (Village Farms) (VFF.TSX) (OTCQX:VFFIF), a progressive vertically integrated food company focused on growing, marketing, and distributing its branded fruits and vegetables to retailers throughout the United States and Canada, has been approved to trade on the OTCQX® Best Market in the United States under the symbol “VFFIF”. Village Farms will continue to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “VFF”.

    Trading on OTCQX is designed to provide existing and future U.S. based shareholders with ease of trading Village Farms’ shares and convenient access to its news and financial disclosures. U.S. investors can find current financial disclosure and Real-Time Level 2 quotes for Village Farms on
    Michael A. DeGiglio, President & CEO of Village Farms, stated “While our operations are evenly split between the U.S. and Canada our sales are predominantly in the U.S. and over the years we continue to receive requests from U.S. individuals and institutions to purchase shares in Village Farms. In response to these requests and to increase our investor base the OTCQX market provides the solution. Village Farms was founded in the U.S. in 1987, so we are proud to be traded on a premium U.S. market.”
    J.P. Galda & Co. serves as Village Farms’ Principal American Liaison (“PAL”) on OTCQX, responsible for providing professional guidance on OTCQX requirements and U.S. securities laws.

    In addition, Village Farms announced that its financial information will be made available via S&P Capital IQ’s Market Access Program, an information distribution service that enables subscribing publicly traded companies to have their company information disseminated to users of S&P Capital IQ’s MarketScope Advisor. MarketScope Advisor is an Internet-based research engine used by more than 100,000 investment advisors. As part of the program, a full description of Village Farms will also be published in the Daily News section of Standard Corporation Records, a recognized securities manual for secondary trading in up to 38 states under their Blue Sky Laws. S&P Capital IQ Corporation Records is available in print, CD-ROM, and via the web at as well as through numerous electronic vendors.

    About Village Farms
    Village Farms is one of the largest producers, marketers, and distributors of premium-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables in North America. The food our farmers grow, along with other greenhouse farmers under exclusive arrangements are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses. The Village Farms® brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada. Since its inception, Village Farms has been guided by sustainability principles that enable us to grow food 365 days a year that not only feeds the growing population but is healthier for people and the planet. Natural resource efficiencies such as water conservation and renewable energy optimizing cogeneration are all part of our clean technology model of farming. Village Farms is Good for the Earth® and good for you.

    About S&P Capital IQ
    S&P Capital IQ, a part of McGraw Hill Financial, is a leading provider of multi-asset class and real time data, research and analytics to institutional investors, investment and commercial banks, investment advisors and wealth managers, corporations and universities around the world. Evaluated pricing is prepared by Standard & Poor’s Securities Evaluations, Inc., a part of S&P Capital IQ and a registered investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the United States, research reports are prepared by Standard & Poor’s Investment Advisory Services LLC, a part of S&P Capital IQ and a registered investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. S&P Capital IQ provides a broad suite of capabilities designed to help track performance, generate alpha, and identify new trading and investment ideas, and perform risk analysis and mitigation strategies. Through leading desktop solutions such as the S&P Capital IQ, Global Credit Portal and MarketScope Advisor desktops; enterprise solutions such as S&P Capital IQ Valuations; and research offerings, including Leveraged Commentary & Data, Global Markets Intelligence, and company and funds research, S&P Capital IQ sharpens financial intelligence into the wisdom today’s investors need. For more information visit:

    For further information

    Stephen C. Ruffini, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Village Farms International, Inc., (407) 936-1190 ext 340.

    S&P Capital IQ
    Equity Research Operations, 212-438-4050


    Village Farms uses technology to increase efficiency & produce better crops.


    by Urban Ag News

    Mike DeGiglio, president and chief executive officer at Village Farms International, spoke with Urban Ag News about his company’s approach to technology and how it’s using it to be more efficient and profitable.

    When was Village Farms started and how has it expanded in size?

    I started Village Farms in 1987 with 10 acres of greenhouses in Pennsylvania and we developed and operated greenhouses in New York and Virginia. In 1996 the company started building 120 acres in southwest Texas. In 2006 Village Farms acquired the largest greenhouse company in Canada located in British Columbia. The facility was about 140 acres. Some of the small greenhouses were sold so today there are 110 acres. In 2012 a new 30-acre facility was built in Monahan, Texas. Today there are 240 acres of glass greenhouses in the U.S. and Canada. Village Farms also markets product from many other growers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

    How has the use of technology evolved at Village Farms?

    For the first 20 or so years, Village Farms worked off of existing European technology that was mostly used in Dutch greenhouses. Holland was considered the Mecca of greenhouse technology. And most companies worldwide looked to the Dutch when it came to higher technology. But that changed. It changed as greenhouses internationally began to quantify the tools to work in a wide variation of climates. The Dutch technology was geared more for the climate in Holland, where it never really gets hot. It’s a temperate climate with low light levels. Village Farms eventually saw the need to develop its own technology. That is easier said than done. If a company is going to spend millions of dollars on R&D, it has to be big enough to sustain it. Even though Village Farms is successful in this endeavor, it was only achieved after 25 years in business and it could afford the costs once critical mass had been achieved to allow further expansion to build projects that cost millions of dollars. For someone just starting out that is extremely hard to do. Most greenhouse growers use existing technology. Village Farms didn’t go that way. It developed its own. The company wanted to be able to have the intellectual property in creating greenhouse growing environments that can mimic the exact climate it wanted based on the crops it would grow and then locate those in areas it wanted to be in for market reasons. If this was left up to a technology company, it might not necessarily be focused on that. Village Farms is unique in that it developed its own technology as compared to most other companies that work with existing technology.

    In what technology areas has Village Farms invested?

    Most of Village Farms’ technology is in software design to control the internal environment of the greenhouse. The company has done a lot with growing technology, both on the production and packing lines. When it comes to growing media, irrigation systems, etc., the company looked at these various components, but production is not where it spent most of its money. The bulk of the money was spent to create a greenhouse climate that is workable regardless of where the footprint is. Our goal was to create the software to be able to run a very sophisticated greenhouse that could have conditions very conducive to plant growth regardless of what it is doing outside. If you can accomplish that, then you can put the greenhouses not where it is best for the plants, but where it is best for the market to lower freight costs and increase access to labor. You can be more sustainable and you can increase product shelf life and product quality.


    What are some of the other areas of technology in which Village Farms is looking to invest?

    Additional technology for the company could come on the energy side and supplementing carbon dioxide. If we can reduce energy costs, we would be much more sustainable. Village Farms has invested with Quadrogen Power Systems, FuelCell Energy and the National Research Council of Canada to build a pilot project for fuel cell technology for our greenhouse in British Columbia. Also, our new Permian Basin facility derives all of its electrical needs exclusively from wind power. A second area we are looking at is cleaning up landfill methane gas. Village Farms acquired Maxim Power, a co-generation facility adjacent to our greenhouse facility in British Columbia. The next phase, which we are working on with the Canadian government, Hallbar Consulting and the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, is to fund a study on the capturing carbon dioxide from landfill gas. There are hundreds of thousands of metric tons of carbon dioxide flowing out of landfills every day. Our goal is to find the technology to clean the carbon dioxide so that we can use it in our growing processes. If we can use the potential of the carbon dioxide sequestered in the landfill, clean it and then use it in the growing process, we will reduce our costs and help clean the environment. The benefit is to lower our production costs. We won’t have to burn natural gas to produce carbon dioxide and we won’t have to buy carbon dioxide. We will also be reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.


    What advice would you offer U.S. greenhouse growers of edible crops when it comes to making technology investments in their companies?

    I would have to ask what is the crop and how do you compete? If you have the right crop, then I would ask what are the big issues? There currently is a big labor shortage in agriculture. Using technology to mitigate labor shortage issues, then I think a grower can move forward. As more crops are being looked at for indoor production, for example berries, then you know you are going to have to have production systems that can mitigate labor even to the point of incorporating some robotics. The use of robotics may also expand to packaging and shipping as well as harvesting and other tasks in the greenhouse. Technology could play a role in berry picking in the greenhouse and in the field. Last year growers left a lot of berries in the field because of the shortage of labor. The use of migrant labor to go from berry farm to berry farm, which is seasonal outdoors, is becoming much more difficult.

    What crops are Village Farms now producing and do you expect that to change much over the next five years?

    We are always looking at different varieties of our core products, including tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant, of which we have multiple colors. We are always looking at unique varieties of our core products. We launched our unique and exclusive Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomato variety about two years ago. We have a whole pipeline of new varieties. We continue to diversify. Berries are definitely on our radar screen. Nutraceuticals and some unique medicinals have a future. Some of the nutraceuticals are plants that have a medicinal benefit. Some of these will have to be produced in conjunction with the pharmaceutical companies. For a pharmaceutical company to sell something it has to be patentable or else it won’t be interested. We are always looking for unique, higher value products that are difficult to grow in the field due to climate or labor or not being available year round. Our focus is on increasing value for our customers by not compromising on food safety, using IPM, and consistent quality that help us provide the best products for consumers.


    What do you think about the increased interest in vertical farming?

    Vertical farming is still in the R&D phase. There is a PR value. The capital and operating costs are huge. It’s limited on the size so how do you reach critical mass? It’s not large scale agriculture. Village Farms does everything on an investment basis. We really understand our costs. Our greenhouses cost nearly $2 million an acre. A lot of these vertical farm operations can’t grow long term crops, at least not now. Vertical farms have a place for crops like leafy greens. Any crop that can be turned quickly in 28-30 days like leafy greens could potentially be grown in a vertical farm. Looking at the lettuce industry, most of the product is grown and shipped from California to the East Coast. If those crops can be grown regionally or locally and bagged here instead, the carbon footprint for shipping the product is reduced or eliminated. On the other hand, you have to be cost effective. How are these vertical farms going to compete with field-grown product long term? You can always find niche markets where people are willing to pay a premium for locally produced. When you make those kinds of large investments you have to be sure it is sustainable. And more importantly, that the profit is sustainable in the long term. Growing food for human consumption carries a huge responsibility along with it, this is something we have never taken lightly, and is the key driver in how we do business and measure efficiency.

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    David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas;



    Delta greenhouse already generates heat, electricity from waste


    A Village Farms employee at the company’s Ladner greenhouse, which burns methane gas from the Vancouver landfill to generate heat and electricity.
    Photograph by: Arlen Redekop , Vancouver Sun

    Local greenhouse grower Village Farms is hoping to extract clean carbon dioxide — as well as heat and electricity — from the landfill gases it burns.

    The Delta-based grower has been burning methane gas from Vancouver’s landfill to generate heat and electricity for 12 years at the firm’s Ladner facility under an agreement with the City of Vancouver and BC Hydro, according to the firm’s development director Jonathan Bos. But because landfill gas is chemically inconsistent and contains contaminants, the CO2 generated by the process isn’t clean enough to be used in greenhouses and is released in exhaust.

    Cogeneration using natural gas is widely regarded as a clean source of carbon dioxide and energy, said Bos. “But landfill gas is a completely different animal.”

    Bos hopes a new $300,000 feasibility study — by Hallbar Consulting and the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering and funded by the Innovation Agriculture Foundation of B.C. and several industry partners — will change that, helping end the waste of a rich but untapped source of CO2.

    “Landfill gas is more than 50 per cent CO2 before we burn it, so it really is a wasted resource,” said Bos.

    A breakthrough that allows clean carbon dioxide to be recovered from landfill gas would be a double win, enabling the industry to extract maximum value from a waste-stream resource and potentially improving air quality in the Fraser Valley, where the greenhouse growers are concentrated.

    “The people of Greater Vancouver and our own families are real stakeholders in this process,” said Bos. “We have the potential to make a long-term positive impact on emissions.”

    British Columbia’s greenhouse growers are voracious consumers of carbon dioxide, a gas that is essential to plant growth and which can boost yields by up to 30 per cent when piped into greenhouses, according to a recently published government discussion paper. Greenhouses maintain CO2 levels of 800 parts per million or more, roughly double the amount that occurs in our atmosphere.

    Most greenhouse growers in B.C. — including Village Farms — obtain carbon dioxide by burning natural gas, according to Linda Delli Santi, executive director of the B.C. Greenhouse Growers’ Association, a funding partner in the project.

    Greenhouses use the heat created by the process to maintain optimal temperatures inside the greenhouses and a handful also generate electricity, which can be sold onto the power grid.

    Landfill gas, which contains methane, can be recovered for use as a fuel or it must be flared to prevent it escaping into the atmosphere. Methane is extremely harmful to the ozone layer in earth’s upper atmosphere and is a potent greenhouse gas.

    Flaring, however, releases carbon dioxide and, while it is less harmful than methane, it is also believed to fuel global warming.

    “Landfill gas is an ugly, corrosive fuel and that creates all kinds of problems,” said Bos. “But there is an appetite for the CO2, a fuel source and an environmental benefit to finding a solution.”

    The region’s greenhouses as well as funding partners such as Air Liquide and the B.C. Food and Beverage Association are potential customers for a clean, cheap source of carbon dioxide, Bos said.

    “What we hope is to identify a process to collect (carbon dioxide) from landfill gas combustion that will be safe for people and safe for plants,” he said.

    The consultants will spend the better part of the next year scouring the world for technologies and processes that can be adapted to the needs of the industry.

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